page contents

Boarding Time, 5:49am by Gayle Francis Moffet

Chasing the sunrise

Portland to Denver

connecting to Branson, Missouri

on an airbus A319

the coffee on the first leg of the flight

is bitter and strong but not enough of either

to make the two hours’ sleep from last night seem like enough


Denver is one long room

no decent caffeine options

in a three-quarter mile stretch of terminal

press my back against the wall next to the gate

look up towards the ceiling to see the morning sun

creeping into the higher windows


Birds flutter in the rafters and I blink

to be certain I’m not dreaming them

eyes tired, sore in a way that feels like a bruise

never can sleep on planes or in terminals

I am unquestionably awake and so are the birds


Mysterious little sparrows land two feet from my outstretched legs

trilling and hopping and cocking their heads as if

I am the interloper

finding me curious and out of place

in their oversized, aluminum nest

Gayle Francis Moffet writes prose, poetry, and comics. Her poetry has previously appeared in Decades Review, The Rusty Nail, and See Spot Run; her prose has been published in The Battered Suitcase, Milk Sugar Literature, and Liquid Imagination, amongst others. She lives in Portland, OR, keeps a news blog at, and her 5-page comic “April 16th, 6:44a.m.” will soon appear at