The ticket settles on my desk: a paper tongue
Pronouncing “Go away;” a flattened seed
From which a thousand-mile leap through the air can grow.
It’s pure potential: a vacation-to-be
The way an apple is a pie-to-be,
A bullet is a death-to-be. Or is the future
Pressed into it inalterably-woven between
The slick fibers like secret threads
From the U. S. Treasury? Is my flight number
Already flashing as cameras grind and the newly-
Bereaved moan? Or does it gleam under Arrivals,
Digits turned innocuous as those that didn’t
Win the raffle for a new Ford truck?
If, somewhere, I’m en route now, am I
Praying the winged ballpoint I’m strapped into
Will write on Denver’s runway, “Safe and Sound”?
Was my pocket picked in Burbank,
And I’ve just noticed at thirty thousand feet?
Am I smiling, watching the clouds’ icefields
Melt to smoky wisps, revealing lakes
Like Chinese dragons embroidered in blue below?
Lifting my ticket, do I hold a bon voyage,
Or boiling jet streams, roaring thunderstorms,
The plane bounced like a boat on cast iron seas,
Then the lightning flash, the dizzy plunge,
Perfectly aware (amid the shrieks and prayers)
That, live or die, I won’t survive the fall?