Joe stepped on the plane for the last time
The feeling of dread took a hold
His stomach was churning, as wheels started turning
The engine’s roar made him turn cold.

His close friend sat smiling beside him
A pat on the arm. They left land
Joe’s job, all the travelling, nerves slowly unravelling
Was more than he’d felt he could stand.

His mouth had dried up. He looked downwards
The safety procedures he found
Were lost from the start by the pound of his heart
And the height of the plane above ground.

His friend knew the fear of them crashing
Just made him feel nervous and manic
Long hours, all the flying, his great fear of dying
Fed terror, fed nausea, fed panic.

Joe longed for the start of his new job
Secure that he’d feel more alive
No packing of cases, no more far off places
In minutes they’d touch ground, they’d arrive.

As wheels hit the tarmac and safety
And people had slowly departed
He wanted to clap, he donned his flat cap
His job as a pilot had ended.

Gill Kirkby