Excerpt: AH HERE WE GO

Crumbling is not an instant’s Act
A fundamental pause
Dilapidation’s processes
Are organized Decays.

‘Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul
A Cuticle of Dust
A Borer in the Axis
An Elemental Rust—

Ruin is formal—Devil’s work
Consecutive and slow—
Fail in an instant, no man did
Slipping—is Crash’s law.

Emily Dickinson


The last time they sat still on the earth.

Ground crew jumpsuited, swathed in ear protection–muffs that I now know are called Mouse Ears, and why did they choose Cabo and not Disney why oh why oh why — and a glaze of forehead sweat. The last level ground they trod on. They shared the tarmac with jumpsuits orange blue and white, name tags sewn on (Pablo, Javier) and the alpine logo of Snowqualmie Air.  The jumpsuits dragged away the staircase they shuffled up step by step, a long line of boarding. Seventy-two pairs of feet, a total of 148 individual metatarsals. A slow conga up the stairs. Sunburned, in some heads of hair a slight crunch of sand. The carry-ons, the magazines, the breakable souvenirs, the children hoisted or held by the hand. The jumpsuits felt hunger, their meal break delayed. These men were not union, which is how this happened, the loss of lunch. They, on the other hand, boarded well fed, bloated with the salt of a fajita-and-margarita diet. Camarones, sweet rolls from the hotel panaderia.  Vacation, vacances, vacaciones. Waistbands biting into bellies, gym time anticipated. Courtesy and patience as their shoes touched each riser. More a ladder than a stairway.

Don’t you dare say, To Heaven.

The hatch on the cabin door locked with suction.

The pilots’ sunglasses, polarized, buffed with lens cleaner and a square chamois with pinked edges.

Settling, arranging, clicking.

We have all boarded planes.  We leave on jet planes and always think we know precisely when we’ll be back again.  We worry about turbulence, wind shear, box cutters, pulmonary emboli, delays, jihad.  We strap in and buckle up.  We know the bustle, the sounds, hint of coffee, metal rumbles in the galley.

They were mine; how did this happen, the loss of children?

© Anne Isaaks, 2011. All rights reserved.

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