Circling

 

Make sure your seat back is fully reclined, your tray table sanded with pretzel salt. The safety card may be used as a flotation device. Off to the left side of the aircraft: Baltimore, Lake Mead, St. Lucia. To the right: we don't know, it's best not to look. We're slicing through waves of choppy air: your chromosomes swell with darkmatter. Wailing babies will be "emancipated." Our flight time is indefinite: we will circle the airfield until the baby is silenced, until the cheerleaders un-pyramid. First Officer Benjamin is choking on luggage tags. A crossword puzzle has burst in row 86. Tiny atomic explosions pepper the blank boxes. Passenger Davis, the answer was margarita. What have you done? Why did any of you leave your hometown? Melissa Rose must be there still, sweet in her sundress & 7-Up. Flight attendants, prepare the fajitas & milk shakes. That pressure in your ears is a wolverine. "What?" you will holler for a week. There is no such thing as a destination. The emergency exits have been super-glued. The beer & wine are safe in the cockpit. We're tumbling somersaults. Our cruising altitude is way up there: the left wing, moments ago, scraped a lunar alp. First Officer Benjamin is bouncing to calypso & spiking his hair. The fire in row 86 has spread to the lavatory: you may have to pee in your thimble of ginger ale. The air blowing on you has been imported from the windy Sand Hills. Your bags will be diverted to a place with polar bears, penguins, & swaying coconut trees. Passenger Davis, stop musing on the whereabouts of Melissa Rose. Look out the window instead: Yosemite Valley, Yankee Stadium, Vladivostok. She could be anywhere. These flames will never be extinguished. The fallout will loosen our molars, splinter our bellies, soupify our graymatter. We do appreciate exact change. This evening—wherever you are & if you get there—tapas will be served. A pair of jet contrails will rake the mango sky, & you will feel thankful. We are tons of metal that will not fall.


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