We board the plane and wait
for mechanical repairs, a fixed
point on the tarmac somewhere
along an x-axis near Boston.
For a good while “y” equals zero.
I always think of flying that way.
The captain informs us it might
be a rocky flight. The seatbelt light may
remain lit. We will intersect a powerful
front and turbulence could get tough.
The cowboy to my left is unsettled
by this news. I can tell he’s not a frequent flyer.
The cabin door now closed we are cleared for flight.
His nerves require a pinch of tobacco which
he tucks in his cheek. Outside the rain
has begun to bead like spittle on the edges
of the glass. I am bound for Texas again.
Soon we are climbing in a craggy spiral.
The sky below us has been broken,
then reassembled into a stuttering arc.
Unlike the cowboy who fidgets with his cup,
I am not afraid of flight. But I understand his fear.
I want to tell him it is only points on a line,
independent of time. Up here is perspective,
space to examine the area under the curve.
Time to look closely at the graphs we have drawn,
the partitions we obey, and the reasons we will leave
or remain. I wish to say this from outside the plane.
I wish to say it in the permeable voice of interpolating clouds.
Copyright 2012 by Dan Collins. Image: Kesha Bruce Studio