there is an angel sitting next to me.
her hands are tucked like wings against each other,
each blue life-vein peeking out through
too-white, too-thin skin.
a dog-earred copy of The Great Gatsby
waits in the pocket of the seat in front of her.
any other day, that might be a metaphor,
but today it is just a lonely book
whose owner is even lonelier.
there is an angel in the plane seat next to me.
while i am closing my eyes to say goodbye to the ground,
she is opening hers wider to say hello to the sky.
her spine is bending against the metal side,
like maybe if she pushed enough she could be free.
as the plane starts moving faster and faster,
the ground tells me, “see you later.”
and as the wheels draw back into the plane’s belly,
the sky tells her, “welcome back old friend.”
there is an angel sitting next to me on a plane,
and it sounds like the start of a bad joke.
she is beautiful with spindly fingers, fly-away hair,
green eyes and a feather soft smile.
i am just a human with too much food in her stomach,
who is constantly battling evil that isn’t really evil and
swallowing truth that isn’t really truth.
she offers that her name is Katie, and
i have never felt more inadequate of my name—
how ironic it is, that this normal name belonged to this
beautiful creature, and my own extraordinary name
belonged only to me, someone so extra ordinary.
for each of us, the three hour plane ride
was spent battling our own demons in silence.
i wanted to ask her if she remembered
what it was like to fly,
but looking at her hands balled into fists on her knees
and her red-rimmed eyes and olive-rimmed pupils
staring doggedly at each passing cloud
through the two inch window of the cage we were sitting in,
i thought to myself,