Rows of blue flight numbers are aligned
with blue times, I bounce my eyes back
and forth between to make sure I’m seeing the right pairing.
I am on the opposite
side of this too-long airport: Gate A, and I have 25 minutes
to make it to gate F, for the connection.
The shuttle bus drives in winding circles in and out of baggage
carts. I climb
the stairs to the tiny
tin can plane, rivets rattle
when the engine starts. My seat
is right next to the propeller, wobbling as it spins.
Emergency exit row, I can assist,
“You can’t nod,” the flight attendant says, “I have to hear you say ‘yes.’”
“Yes,” I say.
The wheels roll on runway pavement grooved for traction, so it’s a crunching speed
that propels me; leaning forward, pressed back,
until there’s a lift in my center straight through,
Not air travel,
but time travel; because in that second I’m back-
you know when-
that time you had a chance to look straight at me,
and I know this,
this is what we missed- the connecting flight.
Robin Small writes poetry, short and flash fiction, and is currently working on her second novel. She is a member of the Hyla Brook Poets, and the New Hampshire Writers Project. Robin is particularly fond of dead Russian novelists, biking, and coffee.