by James Babwe


Passenger Arrested, Released After Parachute Remark
Sleep goes on strike
when I fly.
Engine noise, reports of turbulent weather, and helplessness
for slow motion hours at close to mach one
over an ocean
which swallows many,
leaves few clues, less hope, itsy-bitsy morsels of evidence
and nobody really knows the pilot
who apologizes
two seconds before
this big bump
changes our angle of descent
to straight down
and the jet shudders
louder than all the screaming
which makes it possible to see the windows shake
but impossible to hear whatever weird music
erupts from that part of the nightmare.
but the last stubborn atheist prays.
my untested survival plan–
jumping out of the plane a second or two
prior to impact and floating gently earthward
toward a soft landing on my feet
while the jet explodes
a short distance away–
remains untested
because even though
nobody knows how it happened
(until a few hours later)
the pilot
restored under appreciated boredom
less than ten minutes from Denver.
Giddy with relief
(and a little embarrassed about
the stupidity of my plan)
I asked one flight attendant
whether she had (somewhere above Utah)
already selected one lucky passenger
to share her parachute.
While someone may know a logical
reason for my being arrested at the airport,
what confuses me most
is why I got searched again
at the terminal.
Just nervous,
I guess.