Let me begin by saying I love them all.
The tall girl with big shoulders two rows up,
her Adidas shoes white and new. In the seat
behind me, the prattling boy whose mother,
doubtless, fears the pressure already thumbing
his tiny eardrums, the pink cochlea as yet
untested. I love the pilot, whose words reveal
the slightest hint of a boyhood spent in Virginia.
For years I’ve crossed myself before every take-off,
a trailing habit from decades in Catholic school.
Now I do it purposefully, an act of love for every
beating heart whose life I’ve risked by choosing
my own poisoned desires. When this plane
goes down, as I’m convinced it will, save
them, not me, who was once beloved.