Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 1 , July 2015


Love your Neighbour

Mitchell Welch

  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.