After fifty years Amelia Earhart's Lockheed fretted with rust
still circles over the Pacific. From her skull's scrimshaw
she peers downward, looking for a lane through permanent weather
while a sixty-year-old man carves her story onto whalebone,
slowly incising the fifth grader who paces from kitchen
through living room to parlor back to kitchen, eating unbuttered
slices of Wonder Bread, listening to the Philco for bulletins
from the Navy: After fifty years her Lockheed still circles.
— Donald Hall
"Persistence of 1937" is from Old and New Poems by Donald Hall. Copyright © 1990 by Donald Hall. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Home page image: "Wegbereiter Ikarus," print, woodblock on paper, by Wilhelm Geissler, 1966. (Courtesy NASM)