Love Field

by David Roderick

David Roderick

November 22, 1963

First, a black mark in the sky,
a speck that grows

into a plane widening,
dramatically circling
before it touches
a gray strip of land
designed for its landing.

Then the players descend
the wheeled stair

to the stage
for the cameras,
our collective eye:

first her, then him,
as is custom,
and their entourage
trailing behind,

those who believe
the world is young
and the future spreads
out like geography.

It's the beginning
of all that,
and what a show it is,

the bouquet of roses
we see given to her
on the scratchy screen,

the film pouring its light,
edges burned.

And who knows what's truth,
what's myth,
or if they arrive
as hawks or doves,

brave with risk
in a bright and swirling
land where the dust
seems to crown
from its own gray dust.

Here's the raw footage.
Here's the film
clicking in the projector,

and, as all things seen
through it
are black and white,
isn't it important to note

her roses are red
and not yellow,

and that neither of them
squints in the bright Texas sun?

If you can stand
what the light inside
the darkness does
to your eyes,
watch them pause there
for a moment:
our champion, our grace,

in that high noon
that holds all
the freshness of the morning.

The Americans

Last updated March 30, 2023