Painting by Sarah Morris

I should have been an airplane carcass,
Wing roots severed, tail cut away
Body resting upon the ground
An empty cavity, blue in death, is all that would remain.

My belly would heave the memory of flight:
Of archaic men neatly smoking,
dropping silver ash into armrests—
each shortened breath yellow.
Of seatbacks and upright tray tables
and glamour girls inserting a thousand metal buckles
into the disarray of delays and failed flights.

If I were an airplane carcass
I would have seen this western expanse,
towered over the wild west,
and skimmed across the Great Salt Lake.
I would have followed the glacial pace of the night sky
and awoke in white mornings, bringing the certainty of goodbye.
I would already know a stranger’s touch, a lover’s cry, a dead man’s weight.
Would be able to take this hollow core—
Paint it with the pain of everyone I’d sheltered
and wipe away the stench of loss with each passing day.

I should have been an airplane carcass,
then I would have been ready for you.
Ready to shelter your quietest pain, your creeping sickness,
hold you during the darkest flights.
I’d find us a home among the tiny squares of land that had passed below,
One parcel of possession where sand blows like snow across the roads
Where wind would rip our clothes, rain would seep beneath our skin
And gales would catch our fall.
As though levitating in the wind could remove all sorrow.

I would have been ready for every bad decision
Every trip that led to loneliness, to misery, to joy.
In time gained between layovers
I would have danced in all the oceans, filled my pockets with shells,
Homeward bound with soggy, sand-covered boots on my feet
I would have known my destruction was imminent
Long before I met you.



About Anna Paige

Anna Paige is a writer, photographer, and educator and the co-founder of Billings Area Literary Arts, an organization dedicated to building and enhancing literary arts in and eastern Montana. Read More >>>