I search the starkness of space unplumbed, the air ride,
hidden inside boundless clouds among a weary crowd.
No one I know knows my position, but is flight enough
to bear me away? Those who hope to die in their sleep
would like to think there will be no moment to know
what’s coming, the dreadfulness of that knowledge, yet
visibility suddenly emerges. Traveling south, I recognize
the Columbia, surprised to see no snowcaps, are we still
in Oregon? I face East, always choose this same window
seat for good luck. A peak, is it Shasta? A coke, please.
And here is ice, we’ve achieved a higher altitude.
What would an earthquake feel like at 31,000 feet?
It’s 70 degrees in San Francisco, but 32 in Tacoma,
my jacket wrapped about me like the blanket of snow
down below. And our descent begins. All the saints
of California coast in the distance, westward facing
saints, colossal bridges and mountain ranges flaked
with aridity. Skirting hills on the approach.
All the uncanny moments of a life gather here
in the sky, driving down the coast along route 1,
San Francisco to LA, 1968, watching the sun rise,
sharp and bright, from cliffs over the Pacific.
Or dreaming of a coffin, the night my father died.
There must be a way to know what is necessary
without suffering so much. If a plane crashes, hundreds
on board, how many pounds of shit go down, where do
the bodies go, what is retrieved of all the baggage?