Airplane Poem (A Fortnight Away)

    At 15,000 feet, the sea
is as smooth as a 50-year-old woman's face,
washed by cycles of light
and dark, joy and
sorrow unmixing.
                    I had faced the sea
beside your 24-year-old body--we two crabs
huddled for warmth inside the beige
shell of my car (or better yet,
within the crab itself,
I the left lung, you the right,
extract a singular breath
from the chilled ocean air)
parked against Highway 1.  We watched
the wave's ragged lip curl sensuously,
violently, in defiance to
the straight-backed wall that separates
the sand from the concrete.

We watched the sun dip low, and wondered
if it would rise again.

    At 15,000 feet, the sea
shows no signs of rest.  I am
tired, I am tired.  I wonder if the sun will rise
at the end of this fortnight.  We have been
chasing the horizon, this planeful
of strangers headed for
the same spot of land unknowingly.
                        Earlier this morning,
you boarded another plane for another sunrise,
and I was not there to see you go.
Even now,
I am thinking
of you, your bulk of warmth
drifting opposite to the path of the sun.

Will you
touch the waters of Massachusetts
and think of me?

    One ocean,
no boundaries.
                  There is time,
there is time left to touch
still, in this night--the air and the sea
are as never-ending as time.  Let me smooth
my face with the
knowledge that you are not
far from here.  Thirteen more
days now--is it really?  We will
flow back together

27 November 1994
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Sylvia Chong (