flightless birds

Robecca Oet


every time I cough the plane coughs with me

           exhaust a little stronger little dirtier

seats and seats and seats chop the cabin

           crooked like teeth, hungry like a mouth

with every person that gets on I get a little heavier

           I can feel them all sitting in my gut

the older woman sitting to my left isn’t sleeping

           I am watching her watch the sky

we are a bird in the sky, slow, but not vacant

           I want us to be a flamingo

the plane hums and I hum along with it

           the hum is not sleepy, the hum is alive

surrounded by sky, surrounded by people

           we are lonely


flamingos and pink shrimp and styrofoam peanuts

           my eyes are screwed, and I am dreaming of pink

a mother has a green pillow around her neck and her baby is crying

           the mother is also crying

my mother left me here, not forever, but the plane is shaking

           I am shaking and the woman next to me says nothing

there is another plane on the opposite side of the world

           we are digging parallel lines into the sky


at home my brother tells me flamingos can’t fly

           I lift my arms and beat them against the air

I stand there for hours flapping, eyes closed

           I lift my legs one at a time

I point my toes and bend my knees

           I pretend that I am flying