A Dream of November
The red, white, and gold belly
of the plane bulges above me.
November wind becomes roar of engines,
no longer October’s swoosh and swirl
of trees, of leaves, of hair.
I can no longer hear you.
I do not look up, knowing
I will see the cloudless sky
and the plane, the last thing
I may see. Nothing good ever
happens on days like these.
I run away, denim skirt slapping
thick calves, bruising them, losing myself
on uphill streets past three-decker houses.
My heart races. I brace myself,
escaping the city, the plane’s target.
Miles away, the plane crashes,
smashing against an out of season
baseball field. Sirens throb, faster, faster
than my heart. Someone else dies.
Catching my breath, I inch back
to the crash. I find you,
A Dream of Airports
I stand in line at Purdue’s tiny airport
on a brilliantly sunny day. No clouds
to delay. No turbulence to jar us.
No rain in the forecast.
I am going home from Indiana
with my bag of books and junk food.
I know this plane will crash
as it takes off from the airport.
Weighed down by hardback books
and granola bars, flaming,
it will fall into rows of soybeans.
As synthesizers play a peppy funeral march,
we queue up for the vehicle
that will take us to heaven or hell.
The thin ticket-taker wears a death’s head.
I step out of line.
September 10 in Indiana
Still newlyweds, we watched TV at your parents’.
In the background CNN hummed
a tune we’d never quite catch.
Perched on the scratchy couch,
we drank water—or tea—if
your mother was feeling festive.
Once again Chandra Levy surfaced
like the refrain everyone recognized
in a mumbled, droning song.
Your father thought that she was
his granddaughter snatched from
her husband and child in Chicago.
A woman my age, his granddaughter
looked like the missing girl
with bristling hair the color of
damp twigs and branches, taut arms,
a baggy sleeveless top with tights.
Both women leaned in for the camera.
Both women ran off gravel paths in parks.
You grabbed the remote from the table,
changed the channel to the local news.
A blonde meteorologist in a black dress
with long sleeves promised
blue skies until the weekend.
Marianne Szlyk edits The Song Is... a blog-zine for poetry and prose inspired by music (especially jazz). Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, is available on Amazon. Her poems have appeared in of/with, bird's thumb, Cactifur, Solidago, Red Bird Chapbook's Weekly Read, and Resurrection of a Sunflower, an anthology of work responding to Vincent Van Gogh's art. She has not flown in an airplane since Thanksgiving 2001.