Before the tray tables came to brood in our laps In the prelapsarian wunderkammer of night (Who knew a wasteland so crowded by light?), Decent people rested in short, malarial shakes. Paradisiacal, the hours held each other’s wakes And we lived as innocent of innocence. Ersatz. The world moved beneath us like the slow plot Of a single-camera sitcom projected on the sky. It was funny; we didn’t have to watch, but why? We traced the sad labyrinths of our fingerprints Across unopenable packetlets of airline mints, Cryptic crosswords in the dialects of polyglots. But after the inflight service my neighbour fell Im Halbschlaf, babbling from his deepest well: Bush ghost faces, he said. Plastic bags in trees. His businessman’s erection levitated the tray Above his lap. I saw the gross metamorphosis. People in bags, Herr Doktor. Faces in plastic. He snored in English. I felt a skin of meaning Shrugged from the Airbus A380 like a carapace. I saw him again when the landing gear dawned, Seatback in full upright position, tray table up.
Love your Neighbour