Tuesday, May 22, 2007



It's midway into the flight now -- it took this long to find the word to describe it. Up until just this minute the sensation of sitting beside her escaped description -- how this woman's thick thigh spills across the allowable barrier of her airline seat and rests repeatedly, gently against mine (there is nowhere else for hers to go) until, startled, she realizes her transgression and snatches it back.

It will be only a moment more before it settles back, and her thigh grazes mine (the seat can't contain all of it); only a moment before the armrest between us will rise up and bob, buoyant on the tides of her flesh, spilling like too much cold serve in too small a cup.

There it goes.

And there it goes again.

Earlier, as we prepared for takeoff, the flight attendant forgot her canned safety message, pausing for long passages while she searched out the story in her mind (Don't they store the flotation device procedure on notecards, stashed among the compact drink trays? Can't they read the evacuation plan to us from the laminated safety message stowed in the back of the seat in front of me? Is none of this documented somewhere? Stowed in its full upright locked position?).

She never found it again (the word she needed), and instead instructed us in all the ways a lavatory smoke detector might be disarmed, destroyed, dismantled, unmanned -- without ever naming the object of intent, without ever inserting a noun within the litany of destruction.

She spoke only of the swift repercussions of justice for this nameless act of undoing. And then, undone, she wished us all a wonderful flight.

Home soon. Reasonably successful trip.



enyasi said...

It must be wonderful to see poetry everywhere... :-)

anniemcq said...

I love this. And I'm going to use it.

"I'm getting more bouyant in my middle age!"

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