There were five


There were five in the family.

We encountered them first
on the jet bridge.
They were so loud I thought,
“Please don’t let us be seated near them.”

The Universe does not like such invocations.
“Denied,” it said.
“You have brought this upon yourself.”

They sat down beside and behind us.
We were boxed in between fighting siblings
and a father who escalated every disagreement


An airline attendant said
the children must be seated
with a parent so the father
took the seat behind us
and the daughter
who’d been sitting with her brother
was banished to the far side
of the middle section.

“This is the worst plane ride ever,”
she said to no one in particular.

Damien laughed.
“Come on.
That’s funny.”

Not yet.

He suggested that I meditate.
I cried instead.

I could not complete
the part of my take-off prayer
where I say “I bear no ill will
against my fellow passengers.”

After take off,
I looked for another seat.
The young Thai flight attendant
asked how he could help.
“I’m afraid we’ll have to change seats.”
He nodded solemnly.
“I completely understand.
You may sit wherever you wish.”

We moved up five rows
and slipped into
the silent anonymity
of long distance air travel.

Today at lunch I said,
“This is the worst plane ride
and we laughed.

Today it was funny.

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