I can’t stop imagining my own death on airplanes.
I buckle my seat belt and a propeller flies through the plane
and slices off my arm.
I look as my insides stream from the wound.
If this doesn’t happen,
then later the plane will fall slowly and smash into a mountain.
I’m crushed like a grape inside a fist.
My mother asks me to text her every time I board a plane.
I never say “I love you” only.
On the flight, then my mind begins the dirty work,
visualizing how this could kill me.
I read that flying is the safest way to cross distance.
Safety requires the accumulation of knowledge.
My mother learned my father was like two different people.
His violence snuck up on him, and neither of them saw it coming.
In one moment, he’d fill the fridge
and the next, bam, his fist would come crashing down.
A split pomegranate is how I picture my mother’s scalp before the stitches,
burst open– I shouldn’t say that like I was there.
I was barely a year.
It doesn’t cost my body to imagine,
I know the body is fragile
by what I learned was done to my mother’s,
the price of a lesson to describe what happened
so that it might not happen again.
An SOS in the sand.
He lifted her up into the sky and held her there, gasping–
there it is again.
I don’t know what came over me.
Sometimes you make me so angry, I just lose control.
The pilot loses control and the whole plane rattles.
I watch the babies cry.
The last time I saw my father was at an airport.
Lasts can have so many meanings:
final, most recent, endure, please stay.
I stay ahead of all the ways I could hurt a person
and fly off before they happen.
The people I love say I leave and make them feel so far away.
I didn’t mean to do that.
I worry that if I feel too much, I’ll go mad and set the world aflower
with something utterly unpredictable.
Can you believe that?
I am the stranger in the middle seat,
bowed by turbulence, gripping wildly in the dark for your hand,
whispering, “Will it hurt?”
I don’t want to die, I can see it so clearly.
Sometimes this happens.
Sometimes the arm lashes out in ways that feel almost instinctive.
Please don’t take me at my word.
I always mean to say I’m sorry.
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