“Do Not Walk Outside This Area” by Steven Dondlinger

Steven Dondlinger


This flight is a test of both
faith in God and his absence.

The nun in 17D is my human shield.
He wouldn’t dare take us both out.

Would he?

If God has taught us anything
it’s that his aim is poor.

Why else choose storms and sulfur
over precision-guided missiles?

It’s either vanity or a reminder
to keep good company.

Even on the wing reads his warning:
“Do Not Walk Outside This Area.”

Which must be meant for angels
or demons or molecules of gas

holding hands and pushing back
against a growing wind

or maybe nothing.

from Rattle #46, Winter 2014


Steven Dondlinger: “At the end of college, feeling directionless during a particularly drawn out Minnesota winter, I randomly came across a book by Dobby Gibson. I opened up to the first page and read his poem ‘Polar.’ I stood reading the poem over and over for what seemed liked hours and I have had the poem memorized ever since. That was nearly ten years ago and the words still comfort me. ‘Polar’ made me want to have that same ability to comfort and captivate a complete stranger. It seemed like some sort of superpower. That’s why I write poems.”

Rattle Logo