INCIDENT AT ALTITUDE - 12/21/88 by Helen Engelhardt

FOR TONY/FOR EVERYONE
All the controller saw was the aircraft breaking up.
There were pieces all around the screen where there
had been a single dot.
- 1/2/89 Newsweek

AIR
The invisible ocean that has to be crossed.
The Maid of the Seas cuts through the sky bearing its cargo,
the burden of your dreams.
You are on your way home to us. (You are still trying to come home to us.)

FIRE
On the Prestwick radar screen, you are a green electronic blip.
At 7:03p.m. the blip bursts.

"Like meteors falling from the sky. There were flames in the front and back
garden and I could hear things falling on the roof. We didn’t know what hit us."
Ann McPhail, Lockerbie

"There was fire everywhere. Ignited fuel was running along the street and balls of fire
seemed to be everywhere."
Irene Brown, Lockerbie

EARTH
Pasturelands dark green in the calm December night. Sweet earth wounded
one by one by one by one
they fell to earth
our husbands, our sons, our daughters, our wives, our sisters, our brothers,
our mothers, our fathers, our aunts, our uncles, our nieces, our nephews,
our cousins, our sweethearts, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbors
one by one by one by one
through the dark cold air they came back to earth, to us
to Halldykes Farm you came at last to ground.

WATER
The ocean was supposed to swallow our grief
to bury the crime.
We have our tears
and time.