Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I was on a plane like this the first time I had a panic attack. 
I bent over to breathe between my knees 
and tears streamed down my face 
as we bulleted ahead at 500 miles per hour. 
It was the Philippines then,
six months committed to an unknown place and people,
35,000 feet above the ground and no turning back. 
It would be one of the best things I ever flew into. 

Now, I hurtle my way into France
and the turbulence over the Atlantic
makes me close my eyes and silently
list all the people I love. 
Do they know I love them?
I pray, "God, I trust You."
With each lurch, "God. God." 

How is it that we throw our lives
so easily at the mercy of the clouds?
Without thinking, I trust my body to this 767, 
triumph of human engineering,
a plastic and metal leaf 
shaking near Greenland now,
tiny bright dot in the dark sky,
with only the promise of an oxygen mask
and a floating seat cushion for comfort. 

I place my trust in computers and in the hands of this pilot,
but humanity is no consolation-
I know the deep exhaustion pilots carry,
the bags under my dad's own eyes. 
Yet he has no struggle with faith
in the mechanical birds he commands,
does not think about the craziness as I do,
just the daily-nightly grind of a job. 
There's a certain peace in function,
in guiding a plane safely home again and again,
the time-tested work and whir
of a million parts lifting and landing together. 
Perhaps that is my only comfort,
my father's faith in flight,
or at least the work of it. 

No comments: