We hit turbulence over the Labrador Sea.
At an altitude of 35 thousand feet,
it’s minus 70 degrees outside
and our ground speed is 461 miles per hour.
We’re due to arrive at five forty-five.
None of the units agree—
we live metric and die English,
like the Japanese who marry
Buddhist and bury Shinto.
The crew stays calm—
they’ve seen our types before:
the old woman who pretends to sleep
beneath her blue blindfold,
the good natured lawyer with his loud jokes,
the writer whose rectum whistles
like a teakettle, the rabbi who goes on editing
his sermons—thinking God is just a local call.
I parry fear by rehearsing its context,
twisting the facts to dissect their lives.
Each time the plane shakes I raise my pen
like a wand, hoping it will lift me up
but it skips across the page, erasing what I write.
On the ground at last, I reach for my bag
and read the label pasted
in the overhead compartment:
careful opening, some articles may have shifted