Brandon McQuade: “Gravity”




An expanse of Aegean blue
through a cubby-hole window

amber-blonde hair in braids
(if I remember correctly).

Why does this gravity-defying mass
seem to move so slowly

at this altitude? An hour ago
we were grounded, the cabin

shook with the speed of takeoff,
now we’re floating at 40,000 feet.

I swear we’ve travelled miles
and miles in the time it took

for your twist of hair to unfurl
glancing like lace over your shoulder

as you turned to look at something.
The clouds are moving slowly too,

I think. Even though I know different.
Everything feels more alive

at this speed. Our sons fast asleep:
one in your arms, the other in mine,

slowly breathing. Their chests rising
and falling, the epitome of gravity.

Maybe this is how it feels to time travel,
the slow dance of your hair

brushing against your shoulder,
the sun splashing on steel wings

flying like a bullet without violence
or malice, the earth pulling us

ever so gently, no more or less
than the sky or the wind.



Brandon McQuade is the founding editor of Duck Head Journal and the author of two poetry collections, Mango Seed and Bodies. He earned his B.A. from the University of New Brunswick Saint John and his M. Phil in Irish Writing from Trinity College Dublin. For a selection of poems from his second collection, Bodies, he was the recipient of the 2022 Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award.