“Do not step out of this area.” —Words written on the wing the plane
From this window seat sweet
puffs of white disguise irregular
quadrilaterals, webs of roofs
and roads to make our countryside
serene. Below, it’s all turbulence,
potholes, debris in the ditch.
The neighbor takes his political sign
and aims it where only we can see it.
Though we’ve never spoken, he thinks |
we’re communists. The election is 150
days over. His faded Dixie flag
is pinned to his back shed. I am miles
up and away from our backyard.
Below, black men die by people employed
to keep the peace, overnight shipping
workers are shot, a virus variant
mutates, a 20-year war will pass
the plate to different victims, a child
calls my son a maggot, with an F.
We point to the sky and address
the “man upstairs,” shoot up prayers
like heroin, but I’m upstairs, I’m up
here. There is only water frozen
to miniscule ice crystals lighter
than air, suspended on an indifferent
cliff of atmosphere. From up here,
people on each green and brown
patch of earth are just maggots, frenzied
larva eating filth to hatch as flies. We
keep feeding off of someone else’s grief.
We build our political position on pain.
Come down. Cross the yard. I baked you
cookies. My son loves the woods just like
you. Do you know what that word means?
It’s easier up here. The view provides
perspective but it’s deceptive.
All the squares and webs are connected
as if roads are all it takes to build bridges.
Walk a mile any direction, you’ll pass
a hundred other universes you will never
be able to enter, each human a galaxy
of dreams and perimeters they hasten
to buttress or break down, depending
on what leads, fear or love. Jesus Christ,
step out of this area. Free fall away
from the kingdom of heaven, strap
on your human suit and make the body
of Christ humane again. In the webs
of roofs and parking lots catch
hatched maggots that eat excrement
in the stickiness of grace and justice.
We are entering our final descent.
Now that we’re about to touch down,
what is it you have to say? What is it
you plan to do with this one flesh-
eating, spirit-needing life?