By Beverly Jackson
The future is gauzy: the sky
just before silhouettes of crows’ wings meld
into black crazy-quilt patterns against black silk.
I flutter my own feathers in the noisy dense darkness
without future or flight plan. If we discussed tomorrow
at all, it was jokes about flying down to Rio; driving up to Nome;
we drank dacquiris overlooking Morro Bay’s black rock,
imagining ourselves as free as seals, as drunk as lords.
You said my body was a greyhound, and I hid your boxers
in the motel bidet. There was sweetness in our play,
top down on the car, jazz at high pitch, me driving with
my knee pressed against your leg, your hand on the dash,
mock fear at my high speeds, egging me on with smiles.
The hospital gave no tomorrows. The kidney rejected, the
leg came off. They wouldn’t let you wear any pants at all.
I brought you a milk shake that you threw against the wall,
with your only two fingers. Your sisters dragged me out,
tried to drug me with hope. But that narcotic was locked
behind the door to the cockpit, that big black, keyless door.
My fingers felt the wood, the studs and ran down the scratches
of thosewho’d clawed before me. I came away with splinters and
blood in my palms. No room on the flight. No way to highjack
my way into your world. Left in the now, left in the gauze,
on my back, wind teasing my face, staring at the sky.