In the Spirit of St. Louis, there’s a fly
in the cockpit, and Charles Lindbergh
aka Jimmy Stewart, watches it flitting through,
landing on the yoke, the few dials, soon to
disappear out one of the open windows
of the custom built nine cylinder Wright.
Which one has the best chance of staying
aloft, much less landing in Paris? With a wingspan
of a mere 46 feet will the plane power through
or will the fly with its ability to race at some 15 mph
prove to be the tortoise in this harebrained race?
I don’t remember much from the black and white
film flipping around the reels in the Waldo cinema,
most of it reduced to white noise– the droning
of that single engine, Stewart’s unflappable voice,
the cheering throngs in Paris. Beyond the sharp intake
of my father’s breath beside me, it’s the fly that sticks
in my mind even as Lindbergh stuck the landing. I read
and reread the clippings: no one mentions the fly.