Jeffrey McDaniel

(1967 / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Air Empathy


On the red-eye from Seattle, a two year-old
in the seat behind me screeches

his little guts out. Instead of dreaming
of stuffing a wad of duct tape

into his mouth, I envy him, how he lets
his pain hang out. I wish I too could drill

a pipeline into the fields of ache, tap
a howl. How long would I need to sob

before the lady beside me dropped
her fashion rag, dipped a palm

into the puddle of me? How many
squeals before another passenger

joined in? Soon the stewardess hunched
over the drink cart, the pilot gushing

into the controls, the entire plane, an arrow
of grief, quivering through the sky.

Submitted: Thursday, February 14, 2008
Edited: Friday, February 15, 2008

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