Six months pregnant
one last flight south
Familiar security guard scans my swollen belly
Maternity leave, relief
less than a week away.
Recite a relaxation mantra,
Which pre-natal pattern to calm this fear?
Dash-8, both propellers wrestle the wind
Lurch, ride the turbulent air
Fuselage twists, shakes
Walls alive with movement
Like a squirming bucket of fish bait
Everything’s distorted, focus
on the glowing screen of the laptop computer,
Will the keyboard not stay still for a minute?
The compact computer levitates, suddenly
four inches off the table tray
crashes down with a hollow plastic thud.
Someone screams, a stranger’s eyes lock with mine
A nervous smile across the aisle
Alone in my seat, he seems
so far away, would he mind if I held his hand?
Flash to another flight,
an explosion, passengers plunged
to earth, clothing ripped
from their flesh as they fell
alive, into the ocean.
Some didn’t die
Can’t breathe, I’ve forgotten how.
Feels like a medicine ball
crushing my chest.
Hands clutch the flimsy armrest
I stare down at a vulnerable, protruding
basketball of flesh
Will we count as one death or two?
The pilot’s voice apologetic
Crackles a garbled message
Ears pop as plane drops
Closer to earth now but still rough
ride the blustery air, buffeted by wind
Will the personal flotation device
cushion the impact of a prairie field?
Transition breathing now
Landing is imminent.
It’ll all be over soon,
one way or another.
Then it’s another flight back.
Do it all over again.
Would my husband mind if I held a stranger’s hand?