Midair I replace the engine’s gray, truculent noise
with your voice and its buttoned-up shades
of green, like I do so I remember to keep
it memorized, so you aren’t small and I’m not big. Over
sticky rice I told you my fingers got thicker
this first year; the ring’s tight, and tighter
up in dry air. Kind and crinkly
woman gave me the window seat and she sits
so close I can smell her skin’s honeyed oils.
I’m afraid, I tell her, either because
I don’t know or because
no one, not even you, wants to come down
to earth with an almighty
thump. Not to worry, honey,
she says—and how strange to be called honey.
Up high, everything’s down low and humble
as bitty, fallen crumbs on our
Dried grains of rice last night.
Noticed them as you talked, thought to brush
them over the edge for my sweet dog
who always remains down, unwittingly,
and embraces the subdued cool of the floor.
She’s yours now, too.
In silence we learned that air can be cut bluntly,
throats compressed, eardrums popped, by nothing at all.
Let’s land this thing and we’ll meet
farther down there but
up around, say, here,
sit silent maybe before
you tell me your story anew
and that it’s ours. May all
that loudly lifts and ascends be only
our gladness in love, our level
arms always propelling until we arrive once more,
though more safely
than we imagined;
I want to breathe the same susceptible air again.
Some say the dead
don’t care and I don’t much.
It’s you and maybe your growing-up
daughter or son who keep
me around. I heard
you all crying out red-orange
in the car; everyone heard
you. But I can’t save
the world. So baby, darlin’, child,
if I cared some,
I might instead nudge you gladly
and easily beyond
the one about my girl,
the one whose eyes
are brown, and roundabout
backwards till you hear
the one being