15 November 2008 | Vol. 8, No. 3
If the Past Is Not in Your Travel Plans This Afternoon
Then the sky is not in your clouds. And if the wings are not firmly attached to the mind and the armrest grown restless, recline. When the blue-suited voice of reason asks if you want the whole can and ice with that and not if you'd like her back, you can see how nothing is securely fastened. In case of an emergency, leave the worrying to me. Because if the past is not in your travel plans, you are now free to move about the cabin. You are free. If your blood your love your beloved is not a fraction of the shatter still settling to the bottom of the sea then every shudder is not a sign, every dinging illumination above your head not the one that signifies your fear will take all available air even if bag does not appear to be inflating. If dying is not in your carry-on this afternoon, you need not assume the bead of sweat on the flight attendant's head is a sign. You may exit the plane and re-board a softer memory. This is your captain speaking; in case of water landing, be advised there is no such thing. Remove your ears and use them as a floatation device. I've heard these the kind of skies that smell smoke and say nothing.
About the author:
Jenny Browne is the author of two collections of poems, At Once and The Second Reason. Her poems have been recently published or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, the Massachusetts Review, Sentence, and the Cincinnati Review. Recent work is also featured in the Blanton Museum's poetry project. Formerly a James Michener Fellow in Poetry at the University of Texas, she now teaches at Trinity University and lives in downtown San Antonio.
For further reading:
See the complete list of work by Jenny Browne at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 8, No. 3, where "If the Past Is Not in Your Travel Plans This Afternoon" ran on November 15, 2008. List other work with these same labels: poetry, prose poem.