Nostalgia by Craig Cotter

I find myself thinking lately a lot about nostalgia, and how memories always seem so much more favorable in retrospect. Perhaps this is why I liked “The Last Time” by Craig Cotter; it takes this nostalgia and juxtaposes it with that inevitable, crushing realization that we can never recreate that past. Or maybe it was just for its mention of landing strips, which always makes me laugh; as we grow older it seems anything can take on a sexual connotation.

– Galina Arnaut

Millee Tibbs 01

Millee Tibbs, Millee Talking to Daddy, 2007, inkjet print, 3.5 × 4.875 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Pierogi Flat Files.

The Last Time

I saw the primary color

toy planes

I want to land on Carrie’s landing-strip

1969 at a corner store

on Watkins Lake Road in Drayton Plains, Michigan

I asked my mother about it last month

she said you could get tomato sausage there

they were behind glass

I had no money

and a strange man bought me one.

In Chinatown today

I visited 3 stores looking for small plastic planes

to send you one with the poem I wrote at lunch

(not at an Olivetti typewriter store).

Fuselage nose to tail 2 inches

wing span 2 inches-

I think the first one that should land on you

should be the green.

I never had a favorite color

but used to answer that when dumb-ass adults

(mostly teachers)

would ask.

I think of you crying naked in your bed

in Oceanside

my hand flying the plane over your territory.

Craig Cotter was born in 1960 in New York and has lived in California since 1986. His third collection of poetry, Chopstix Numbers, is available from Boise State University’s Ahsahta Press. Poems from his new manuscript Awake are upcoming in Global Tapestry ReviewLungfull!Poetry New ZealandAmbitThe Los Angeles ReviewAlimentumDalhousie ReviewCourt GreenMudfishVan Gogh’s EarInkwell, and Eleven Eleven.

For more from Millee Tibbs, check out her work at Pierogi Flat Files.

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