32,000 Feet Over the Pacific a Underground Parking, poems by Kirby Wright

      32,000 Feet Over

      the Pacific

      At this height
      The clouds pretend to be islands.
      The captain promises

      85 degrees and clear skies.
      The man beside me
      Plays an outer space game

      On his cell, manipulating buttons.
      He is busy saving the universe.
      We are in the home stretch, a half-hour

      ‘Til touch down.
      Stewardesses powwow in the galley
      Beside the toilets—

      They joke and laugh like family.
      I wonder what my father looks like
      In his hospital bed.

      “115 pounds,” my mother whispered.
      He is as light as a ghost.
      When he is a ghost,

      When his own jagged teeth
      Cut his spirit free,
      He will float like a wild balloon

      Beyond Mars
      And distant planets
      Into the unforgiving stars.

    Underground Parking

    It’s Palm Sunday. I accompany my mother underground, into the bowels of a parking structure. She admits it’s her fantasy to be kidnapped by a celebrity on a Sunday before Mass.

    “Why on a Sunday?” I ask.
    “So I’ll miss Mass,” she replies.
    “Why don’t you just stay home?”
    “And have God send me straight to Hell?” she goes. “No, thank-you.”

    We reach her Mercedes classic, with paint as blue as a robin’s egg. My mother wants to be buried in this car, instead of a coffin. She says ending up in something familiar will be good for her soul. She flops down in the suicide seat. “Luck Be a Lady” plays on the radio. “Get in back,” my mother instructs.

    I swing open the back door and climb in. Frank Sinatra sits behind the wheel. He fires up the Mercedes, reverses.

    “Whe’re we going?” I ask.
    “I’m getting kidnapped,” my mother answers.
    “What about Mass?”

    Sinatra smirks, kisses my mother on the cheek, and floors it.

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Fred Johnston