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Patricia Jabbeh Wesley: Flying

We arrived in the windy city thirty minutes ago,

two hours delayed.

No apologies.

Many passengers are missing their connections,

but I opted in for a seven-hour layover

to enjoy the midwestern feel, after all.

Never seen a substitute plane in the US

until today, a generic plane,

with no United Airlines on it.

I tell you, flying in and out of Central PA

     has its upside.

There’s always material for poetry.

Have you ever heard an airline attendant say,

"We will be delayed

because the plane's computer is telling

us that one of its engines

is very low on oil?" Yes, low on oil,

like a car, like something

that needs ground to ground it,

like a motorcycle. And then a technician

comes on board, screws things in,

while he’s on the phone. 

Thirty minutes, he’s still screwing

the plane together. By then, I'm saying

the Lord's prayer, the 23rd Psalm, 

the 125th Psalm, the Bible. I'm calling on Moses 

to part the Red Sea for me. 

            I want to grab my husband,

and run, but good old, trusting husband

and comfortable Americans are sitting

there, waiting for a screwed-up plane

the way Americans wait. Silent, staring,

         comfortably eating a donut,

sipping a drink, unlike me, this Grebo

woman who has seen death over and over.

Finally, the teenage-looking pilot 

needs a bathroom break, and he runs 

to the restroom. And another 15 minutes, 

the tech person leaves. We take off, 

             bumpy, a Canadian plane,

I realize, and now I'm thinking of a lake,

where we can land, but the landing,

bumpy, clouds, Lake Michigan, inviting,

but thank goodness, the young pilots forgot

to dump us in its blue foams, Lake Michigan,

         blue, beautiful, and polluted,

but it's still Lake Michigan.

When I grow up, I want to be a fish,

 a big blue fish if I ever grow up.

Copyright 2021 Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley’s many books include Praise Song for My Children: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House, 2020). She is a survivor of the Liberian Civil war and currently lives in Pennsylvania.

6 comments on “Patricia Jabbeh Wesley: Flying

  1. Arlene Weiner
    October 26, 2021

    Laughing and not laughing. I was once on a British Airways plane in Spain that was delayed taking off. And the pilot kept making announcements: …due to mechanical problem…waiting for a part…I was longing for the famous British stiff upper lip instead of these terrifying confidences.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rose Mary Boehm
    October 26, 2021

    Just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this poem. Smiling. Yipppeeeeing. Thank you Patricia.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Huntington
    October 26, 2021

    This is the way my thoughts often come. It feels so natural and honest, but with poetry magic. I am eager to find more of her poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on October 26, 2021 by in Humor and Satire, Poetry and tagged , , .

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