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How To Avoid Crashing And Burning

A dozen strands of wiry nipple hair
Are all I can honestly claim.
And claim them I do, like
The luggage at carousel four—
If not lost and halfway to Los Angeles.
Or maybe the fuel was getting low
And in some unannounced grand heroism,
The pilot decided to drop some weight.
And well, my Olympia bag did not know Hermes’
Tricks and it plopped below the Atlantic—
Black, wheeled, barely under the 50 lbs limit.

Naturally, a stewardess would have the gall
To ask Sir, may I get you a free alcoholic beverage?
We’ve just discarded your luggage.

I suppose the pilot—Dan or Bill or something bland—
Could’ve never guessed I had an expensive bottle of scotch
In there. No gut rotting for me.
So naturally, cue the histrionics.
But my father’s ashes? They’ll get wet! He’ll stain!
I’ll never get Pops out of my Tommy Bahamas!

And of course, she’ll hand me every finger-sized bottle
In her cart (the plan all along) that seems to bump
my armrest every time–I requested a window seat–

And when I have drained five bottles
(much to the jealousy of the sap in seat A),
I’ll stick my fingertips into the caves of their
Openings, flexing my new plastic vacuum-sealed
Claws, fiercely comical. And he will not laugh,
And I will laugh, and thank god for distractions
Like turbulence.

I would cremate my father, as he burned my grandfather’s
Body up, not needing a funeral with all the friends dead
And relatives too far and checkbooks balanced.
But there is something to dying as creatures
Do, stinking in putrid decay, dissolved but for fur and claws
Until one day, he is gone but for the measly three hairs
He gave me, and they are mine.

Posted 10/14/11
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