What Makes an Airplane Stay Up?

David Starkey

Faith, mostly, and the law of equal
and opposite reactions. Ramjets
are like flying stovepipes. Turbojets
use compressors. In England,
a propeller’s an “air screw.”

A vacuum formed in a curve
of the wing hisses like steam.
Think of a toy balloon—you blow
it up, let it go. Or a surfboard
dragged by a cigarette boat.

Hero of Alexander invented the airplane
in 120 BCE while tinkering
in his workshop. A pot of water
boiled over a fire; all around him
fellow citizens awaited discovery.