Christopher Locke

To The Man In The Aisle Seat As Our Plane Begins To Crash

You came all the way from Sioux Falls
just to die next to me and didn’t even
dress for it: denim shirt untucked
and beaten as you scream up at
the cabin ceiling, at some god
outside our plane. I can’t find
my wallet, pull out the photo
of my two daughters or the one
of my wife, her old college I.D.
I carry everywhere, as if to remind
me of when we were poor but happy,
lustful in a way only innocence can
inspire. Shoes, glasses, and those little
Mylar bags of peanuts are flying around
the cabin like roses thrown on stage;
but we are not applauding, we are all
screaming, and I foolishly tighten
my seatbelt, grabbing the strap the way
my wife and I used to grab each other’s
waistlines: aching, finally alone, pulling
at our clothes if they too were on fire.

Christopher Locke’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Southwest Review, Poetry East, The Literary Review, Adbusters, 32 Poems, Alimentum, The Stinging Fly, The Sun, Tears in the Fence, and Agenda among others. Chris has received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, New Hampshire Council on the Arts, and Fundacion Valparaiso (Spain). His first full-length collection of poems, End of American Magic, is currently available from Salmon Poetry. Waiting for Grace and Other Poems is forthcoming in 2013 with Turning Point Books.