Those Who Will Not Be Found

Bluefin 21 is not blue. It has no fins. It looks

like a big, yellow bomb

 

with a beanie on top. It looks

for Flight 370 in the South Indian Ocean, diving down

 

14,800 feet. The South Indian Ocean is 15,000 feet deep.

Below the Bluefin, the dead plane

 

ferries 227 ghost passengers and 12 ghost crew

in their sea bed. Bound for a soft landing

 

in the black marsh at the center

of us all.

Seeking the Wreckage

They trawled the waters off Vietnam, the Strait of Malacca, the Andaman Sea. Detected the dying pings of a plane’s black box 15,000 feet below the South Indian Ocean. They say once that box goes silent, no one will find flight 370.

I say we send a deep sea lantern shark to shine its light in those black waters. To haul back a splinter of the plane. A tip of the tip of a wing. I say we hold it and mend it. Heal the cracks with gold. Make it whole. Too small for passengers. Too fragile to fly again.

I Curse

the candle I lit to pray for your life.  The plane.  The ghost of the pilot.  The air.  Anointing

 

the dying flame with the juice of the sourest lemon, I doubly curse

the boss who sent you to Beijing.  The TV camera

that captured my tears.  With my sharpest needle, stabbing

 

the anointed flame, I triply curse

the one who should have gone before you.  I beg, Please Lord, stop

            my empty heart. 

Burning in the Air

I tear the shirt my daughter drew.

A girl.  A rose.

The garden we were then.

Dipping her uprooted cotton

into my last drops of water.  Struggling

to draw in air.  I

swaddle my face, swallow

my voice.  Begin to breathe

into smoke.  Into clouds.

Too close to her

to pray.  Too close to ask

to die

on the ground.

If I Could Take that Red Eye Again

I’d buy a magazine, a bottle of water, Tylenol.
The flight attendant would take my boarding pass.
It’d be morning when we reached Beijing,
the heavy air, the boys on bicycles, the daybreak Tai chi.
I’d sleep through the flight.
In my dream, the plane would never disappear.

I’d never disappear.
I’d read the magazine, drink the water, take the Tylenol,
wait for the night to pass
while I pictured the tarnished dragons of Beijing
gathering for daybreak Tai chi.
I’d warn those smoke dragons off my flight

snuff their lights, cut the sound.
Enjoy my business lady dreams.
Take my Tylenol,
wait for the miles to pass.
Listen to the plane say hello to Beijing.
Get ready to wake up for morning Tai chi.

Under Your Hands

They dug me from islands and continents, melted me, assembled me. My wings from Japan, my control from Britain, my rudder from Australia. And you, where did they assemble you?

You called me She. You laughed sometimes. Other times you sang, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” When I hummed, you said, Hello.

You flew me soft. So soft, I forgot. Forgot I was a wide body. A carbon-fiber polymer. I thought I was air. How

could I spark? I had never felt fire. As I burned

you did not call me She. You did not laugh. You did not sing. When I tried to hum, you said nothing. When you said

Climb, I climbed. When you said Dive, I dove. When you put me on autopilot, I flew. I flew for you through my own smoke

while my engines ran dry. While I shook and fell. While my wings left my control. Until we were no longer air.

 

Pilot’s Log

Hot night. Heavy plane. 227 passengers. 12 crew. Smooth take-off. Routine “Good night.”

Spark. Flying dark. Get this machine down. Airports ahead, airports behind. Palau Langkawi. Safest bet. Turn.

Smoke, smoke, smoke hood won’t last. Breathe shallow. Low oxygen starves fire–climb. 45,000 feet. Smoke. Breathe shallow. Dive to extinguish fire. 25,000 feet. Smoke.  Go

automatic pilot. Get this machine to Paulau Langkawi. 227 passengers. 12 crew. Stay conscious. Stay conscious. Stay