Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

My Coat

I. Takeoff

My coat is on a different hanger now.

The closets shuffle lives within their doors.

The newer ones, they often disavow,

because they’re partial to their former tours.

And since I want to leave my current place,

the exploration itches to begin.

I’m slower than I think, but still on pace. 

The motor fizzles, kicks, begins to spin.

I know I’m flying just to chase a thrill,

but can you blame me? Cheaply found unrest

is growing on me as a way to kill

the panic that undoes me at my best.

The mountain’s growing closer by the mile.

It’s time to turn and fly north for a while.


II. Flight

I’m looking out across the turning earth,

believing for the first time that I’m free.

The journey’s destination isn’t worth

the undercurrent pull of destiny.

And so I rise above the cloudy sea

to greet the sun in all its distant might.

I’m blinded by the sunspots’ filigree;

disorienting spirals rake my flight.

The mountain pokes anew into my sight.

I’m not like Icarus. I have a clue

about my limits, so I pull hard right

and stall the motor. Shot, and done, and through

with this long journey that I’ve dragged it on,

the motor says “Adieu, goodbye, I’m gone.”


III. Landing

It sets me down among some leafless trees,

so now I’m left to leg my journey out.

Perhaps I’ll learn what destiny’s about;

for now I’m simply focused on the breeze

that’s blowing at my back. I feel at ease.

I feel the forest opening about

me as I start toward home. I know this route.

I find it nicest during winter’s freeze,

beneath the gray skies. Wrapped inside my coat,

I’m ready to return to where I know

there’s always room for me. To be at home

is sweeter than the songbird’s favorite note.

Next time I’ll take my motor nice and slow.

Next time I’ll leave my place before I roam.


Charlie Forster is a fourth-year Creative Writing major from Pittsburgh. He wrote and revised this sonnet series several times over the course of his semester abroad in Bath, England last fall. 

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