He Blinks Twice

Down the aisle he sees great round
cauliflower heads of smoke that reach
the last rows just as they begin to twist
to the right like a roller coaster, then back to the left,
nausea clouding everything except the clear black
thought that the plane is now in a state of free fall.

Watching the press conference on CNN, she falls
in slow motion to the airport floor, perfect round
trombone notes forming in her throat, black
hair over her eyes, the camera reaching
down so we can get an up close look at what is left
of her, a broken doll in a heap, arms and legs twisted.

Looking straight into the camera, the reporter twists
and points out the doll where it has fallen,
one of the few recognizable objects left,
it and the nearby engine, its round
fish mouth and gills prominent in a debris field reaching
up a hillside, everything scorched, sheared off and black.

Approaching the podium, three men dressed in black
carefully step over a twisted
bundle of wires that reach
up to the bouquet of microphones. Silence falls
over the room as the journalists scribble, their round
faces grim at the news that no living person is left.

Wearing a white shirt with wings pinned to his left
pocket, he imagines his voice being heard on the black
box recorder. The precise and carefully rounded
jargon will be his only afterlife amongst the twisted
wreckage. He has work to do so falls
deeper into his routine but knows that hope is out of reach.

As the man in 39E reaches
for his plastic cup to drink the one swallow of wine left
in the bottom, his eyes move to the window where they fall
upon an unusual sight: a black
trail forming behind the engine. He blinks twice then twists
to face the aisle, hoping to order more wine, one final round.

But no one reaches down to help her. They see the black
mascara streaks left on her face, clothes and hair
twisted
into knots. Seeing her fall, the gawkers race to gather
’round.

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