the letter that i’m

too frightened to write

would say what?

 

that the body is only {this}

wanting thing disguised

as a plane landing,

 

arms alight? my body

is a city, one of many

destinations buckled in

 

to a seat, upright, and

the letter i try to write

instead limns the misfortune

 

of others, my hairdresser

indicted in Wythe County

on charges of driving

 

under the influence

and possession—

third or subsequent

 

offense, but it seems

better than everyone else’s

indictments, which were counts

 

of having a child present

while making meth. possession

is nine-tenths of the law

 

and our bodies remember

their internments, ingest

their sorrows, hold on

 

to whatever rubs up

against them; the body

is everything, i think,

 

but i don’t write that.

tonight, past the runway,

wind chimes speak

 

through the mountains.

a fast train hollers after itself.

where is your body?

 

lifting off like this plane

from somewhere dark

and non-descript, hovering

 

like the pages of newspaper

from a town i don’t live in

when my seatmate folds a story

 

over my tray so I can see

the Clearbrook Walmart

where a man exposed himself

 

to three girls inside and they’re

requesting the public’s help

to identify the man stalking

 

the seasonal aisle in his red-

and-white striped shirt,

his khaki pants. he drives off,

 

the male subject. and hallelujah,

you should see the traffic

from the air, it looks like

 

light-loving snakes tenderly

clutching themselves around

rivers and other stumbling blocks.

 

 

 

 

meitnerErika Meitner is the author, most recently, of Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls (Anhinga Press, 2011) and Ideal Cities (HarperCollins, 2010), which was a 2009 National Poetry Series winner. Her fourth book, Copia, is forthcoming in the fall of 2014 from BOA Editions.  She is currently an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she teaches in the MFA program.

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