The Airplane on the Front Porch
The schizophrenic woman
black curly hair square jaw
smoked her cigarette angrily
and watched the full moon
navigate the night skies
Furry clouds scattered like frightened dogs.
I said: "It's a pretty night, huh?"
She didn't answer my question.
She knitted her thick eyebrows
and puffed on her fag.
Thinking was work.
She was moving ideas around
in her head like furniture.
She said she sees things printed in the sky.
"The clouds tell stories.
Like a regular storybook.
Look, there," she said, "there's an angel."
I followed her finger toward a cloud
swirling around the moon.
The night got darker.
The woman swallowed more smoke
and blew it fiercely at the sky.
The smoke was a shield to protect us.
She said: "I don't like angels.
They can't be trusted."
She smashed the cigarette into a dish and lit another.
She took a drag and sucked up the smoke through her nose.
The woman was an expert at smoking.
She relaxed and laid back in the chair.
She said: "Lots of times I see my mom and my dad.
They're both dead. They just went away. I'm glad.
And today I saw an airplane
to pick me up and take me away.
It had windows and a toilet and everything."
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Issue #30, December, 2002 :
Santa Fe Poetry Broadside.