Big Earth


By Jill McDonough

Outside the Buffalo stadium before the Pats-
Bills game, a C-130 dips down to say GO BILLS.
A Buffalo fan tells us the National Guard
practices touch-and-goes for hours, the move
they use to drop supplies. Slip down so close,
pop open the hatch, strap a chute to the goods, pull up,
and parachuted pallets zip out the back.
I say Like the Berlin Airlift, Operation
Little Vittles, how Oncle Wackelflugel
Uncle Wiggly Wings—cut loose
candy rations, floating Hershey bars. This
is the right thing to say. The Bills fan, Mike,
likes this, loved to fly in the war. Only thing
better than flying was killing people, he laughs.
He pantomimes picking the enemy out of trees
from above. I tell him I once flew over a herd
of red deer, saw it split and spill like water. These
are my people, these Pats and Bills fans, shrugging over
concussions ‘cause what can you do? He says when he
was a kid he couldn’t wait to kill bad guys,
but now he’s not convinced they’re all so bad. 
He points to the Pats fans, Bills fans yukking it up
across the street, giving each other a ration
of shit, but grinning, keeping it light. Right, I say. 
Choose your enemies. There’s room for everybody.
Mike nods. That’s right. It’s a big earth.  


Three-time Pushcart prize winner Jill McDonough directs Boston’s MFA program and 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center online. Her books include Habeas Corpus and Where You Live; Alice James will publish Reaper (forthcoming 2017).

Photo credit: Josey Packard

Photo credit: Josey Packard