the poetry of turbulence
It was a surprise to the pilot, even with his elaborate panel of lights.
Earlier, as we crept toward the runway, he'd announced the smooth ride
we should be expecting, with a good tailwind to boot. But somewhere between
Des Moines and South Bend the atmosphere changed, and he got on the intercom
to tell us beverage service would be suspended and would the flight attendants
please take their seats. In front of me, a mesh pocket held the slim distractions from the
interval of bumps - an illustrated placard, a dog-eared magazine, a foil packet
holding exactly twelve pretzels. Inside my chest, my heartbeats grew rapid,
strangely paced like jazz or like that moment you realize you have everything to lose,
and you've never felt more certain that you won't.