BY DANI COUTURE
Cloud cover like a badly made bed, ruched in sections, rushed.
Whatevered for reasons of a lifetime of do-overs. Why bother
trying to change? The gathered duvet sometimes mimics you,
makes double. Dopples a decoy. An escape plan. The safety
of numbers and cover. When the wing dips, a hole in the sky
revealed. Until then, a man in the aisle seat. Calculations
to see if it’s possible to slide through the fisheye window
if he touches your thigh again, your face. We like our planes
fashioned after ships. The illusion one could jump or be forced
off and possibly survive between the distance and everything
that wants to live how it’s always lived. Without compromise.
When does knowing a person begin? Was it when he said
you look like his ex-wife? Hair naturally red, not like yours.
Fake. He can tell, but it’s OK. What your children together
would look like. That if you had been born in Fayetteville,
he would’ve liked to have known you. Feels he does. Not
like the absent husband his mind weds you to. The one who
abandoned you to his company like a firing squad to its post
waiting for a reason to prove worth. The moment he asked
for vodka on the 53-minute flight from Charlotte to Wilmington
to bridge the gap between pre- and post-flight beers. Or how he lifted
his shirt to show you where his lungs had been punctured and once
collapsed, he said he’d briefly died and now is, briefly, alive.
Source: Poetry (December 2017)