11 September 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 3

Nocturne with Missing French Jet Two Days Before My Mother Leaves for Paris

"I met with a mother who lost her son, a fiancée who lost her future husband. I told them the truth."
– French President Nicolas Sarkozy

And so again we're left with speculation. Luck, destiny, fortuity.

           The mouth makes its sounds, curls ever so slowly, forming

                      into horror or love, while lightning in the sky, if you're a passenger,

cannot be described, because those moments are always

           your last. It's 3 a.m. Monday morning, Jess keeps waking from patients

                      calling for codeine cough syrup and hydrocodone,

and the car alarm outside our window squalls like a fire truck

           racing to save a million-dollar home in Chesdin Landing.

                      We've seen the darkness and CGI: feigned, blacked-out windows,

post-production lightning, but no one has lived to tell us

           what the face of God looks like in the spiraling black, in the second

                      before the brain switches off like a light. And what if

my mother had been on that flight? The London subway bombings,

           9/11 bumps and cancellations, snipers on the freeways:

                      when choice becomes a made-up word. I like to imagine love letters

Neruda could compose, floating around like particle matter

           in the crowd of passengers, all of them in a run-down theater

                      somewhere in a small town, laughing, holding hands

in some kind of celebration. While the black screen scrolls slowly

           the names in their futures, before all are revealed

                      in tomorrow's paper, ending as the projector finally cuts off.

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About the author:

Keith Montesano's first book, Ghost Lights, a finalist for the 2008 Orphic Prize, will be published by Dream Horse Press in 2010. Other poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry Review, American Literary Review, Third Coast, Ninth Letter, Crab Orchard Review, Another Chicago Magazine, River Styx, Hunger Mountain, and elsewhere. He is currently a PhD Candidate in English at Binghamton University.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Keith Montesano at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 9, No. 3, where "Nocturne with Missing French Jet Two Days Before My Mother Leaves for Paris" ran on September 11, 2009. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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