We know heat is not made up
of many tiny heats, but suns
explode with smaller suns. We know
the speed of wind increases with
height, built upon infinite winds.
If you listen to cell phone conversations
in airports, major miscommunications
are comprised of hundreds of thousands
of bites of perfectly true things.
Once you recognize you are composed
of error (even though you are perfect)
you may feel a certain understandable
distress, especially in a crowd, where you are
most vulnerable, most likely to be
(panic) falsified. Thank god your new device
has an app that can map
your luggage’s precise movements
through the prism of the terminal,
channeling motes (burden, hero, cargo)
from point to point.
∗ ∗ ∗
We have given over to the organizational
pull of the terminal and in this way we have
become a function of too much plastic, sugar
and light. Travel is a metaphor none of us
understand. Metaphor is a metaphor none
of us understand. And yet we need to think
we know something: Turbines reverse time.
Texts run between poles on humming wires.
Wings fly. I am here
at Gate A. Call me when you land.
∗ ∗ ∗
If I need something, I tell the flight attendant,
I’ll just hang a raw slab of meat around my neck.
I act this way to remind myself that
something as small as an invidious
elbow separates me from the cattle.
The remainder of the flight is made up
of minor, tense moments
that accumulate to form one
large tension that expands to fill
the space between everyone on the plane
until we all taste the same raw
anger in the roof of our mouths, the same
needy, gaseous disgust.
∗ ∗ ∗
Some want to make small talk with fellow
passengers and some do not. We are reliable
referents of each other that way, edgy
binaries. I’m in a fantastic mood, so I turn
to The False-Handed Man. It just rests
on the seat-back tray like a clump of clay.
Hey, so why didn’t you attach
a suction cup, or a hand of many hands?
A green knife, a cut lily, a Pez dispenser?
What about a mouth? Christ, just think
what joy a mouth-hand would bring.
∗ ∗ ∗
According to the flyers strewn
over the tarmac, we all have a glossy opportunity
in this new city in which we have landed
to pay $5.99 for the fish-and-chips special.
A gust lifts the flyers as they attempt to form
one large fish and chips flyer, an event
that would leave us lost again, our separate, fetid,
leaking yet dehydrated bodies locked in the shrinking
cabin, panting, running low on
life force, waiting for a hero to make himself known.
She is a Japanese girl in a reflective orange
vest, pixie-like on her toes, valiant on the runway
as she plucks the flyers from the swirling
gusts, folds them into an origami horse and rides
off into a brilliantly striated sunset.
In the distance, her hair blows like the heroines
in anime. Several other clichés occur.
The cattle car eats it all up.
∗ ∗ ∗
The people in the terminal have seen
what we have seen and now they raise
their arms and cheer and so we
raise our arms and cheer and we can’t
hear them and they can’t hear us but both
crowds make a noise like raahhhh or
wooooo, all of us vibrating in the
frequency of unsounded
complaints and tiny silent motes
of each other’s hair and skin, of
disease that clung to the mucous
in our bronchi, all of it airborne
part of one large, triumphant sound
that does not feel or sound
anything like any single one of us.