The Quiet of the OH S**T moment

The Quiet of the OH S**T moment

A Poem by Richard Layne

The captain has turned on the seat belt sign.


                           The Quiet of the OH S**T moment


You’re suspended in midair

The only thing keeping you from hitting the airplane’s overhead is your fastened seatbelt.

Your arm is gripping the headrest in front of you, but let’s be honest.

No matter how strong your grip is, it’s not going to keep you from flying headfirst

Into the luggage compartment.

It’s like some invisible fist has punched and grabbed the plane’s belly over the Rockies and

Is jerking the plane down in quick, succinct motions.










And in those moments of muscles clenched and


You’re just hanging on.

No life flashing before your eyes

No tender smiles of strangers and knowing nods of

We’re in this together aren’t we?  We’re gonna make it!

No, Just a mind numbing fear and clench of your fists

And your a*****e

and a staring straight ahead like

This can’t be happening .

This can’t be happening.

Then immediately followed by

So this is how it feels to crash.

You watch the lady’s hair five rows up as it floats and falls and floats and falls

And you observe the other clenched bodies and the quiet of the OH S**T moment.

You wait for the next blow

That will surely rip this tube open and scatter us

across the sky.

The plane shudders.  You feel the metal shifting and shuddering underneath and

Around you.

You hear the shifting and straining of the body of the plane.

You think of your children and you are sad that you won’t see them again.

How happy their faces make you and this calms you.

You stare ahead and wait.







The plane continues to fly somehow.

And then the captain comes on the intercom

And your ears are so clogged you don’t even know what he is saying.  Don’t even care

Because he’s talking in a measured, calm tone.


The plane collectively exhales.

You set back in your seat, tighten the seatbelt until it hurts.

You look out the window at the snow covered mountains

And search for soft landing zones

And invisible monsters.


But you can only see your own strained face’s reflection

Slightly smiling back at you

Positioned against a dull gray sky.

© 2012 Richard Layne

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I've flown over the Rockies...your description is right on! Write on.

Posted 4 Years Ago

I kissed the ground at Dallas-Fort Worth after arriving on an "interestingly LONG" short hop Air Texas Flight... some days you NEED to appreciate ...walking

Oh, and welcome back to WC.

Posted 4 Years Ago

Richard Layne

4 Years Ago

Thanks Chris. What I nought would be. Few days off turned into a year. Can't let that happen again.. read more

4 Years Ago

Life happens... sometimes we survive it - takes time.
I believe this was very unique, putting us through the motions of the plane declining while also making us feel the message of the poem itself. Very creative. Well-done.

Posted 5 Years Ago

you made me feel what you wrote...great job!

Posted 6 Years Ago

Very well done!

Posted 6 Years Ago

this is a very descriptive scene. you effectively placed me there, in that plane, with these words. i like this a lot, something to think about would be taking something this descriptive and creative and layering it with more figurative language. it could add a new element to the words.

Posted 6 Years Ago

**hi5's the screen** the was so creative and the ending packs one hell of a punch!!! ya know I've always been afraid of flying.... as a kid my parents would pull me on the plain kicking and screaming... ur descriptions of the plain flying in the air take me back to those moments...
** tips my lyrical wand to you** you did a great job!!

Posted 6 Years Ago

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8 Reviews
Added on February 13, 2012
Last Updated on February 19, 2012


Richard Layne
Richard Layne


I got married, had 2 awesome kids, joined a big corporation, and stopped writing. 15 years later, I want that piece of me back. more..

Kayak Kayak

A Poem by Richard Layne