Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

21 D & E

The man sitting in front of her sports
multiple earcuffs, a shaved head, and is flying
to San Francisco from Detroit with a baby
on his lap. A meticulously drawn reptilian battle scene
plays out across his flexing shoulder blades with
critical elements obscured by his sleeveless speedo shirt.

In 22D, she would like to tell him that if he walked
the child, joining the stoic and practiced procession
in the aisles, the baby might stop crying. But each time
she summons the courage, the baby falls asleep.
She swallows her words again, turns away
and gratefully nods off. But someone

Or paternal instinct soon tells this father that babies
must be bounced, and the child's purpling face
bobs up and down before her like a frenzied
jack-in-the-box. Face to face to face, the baby
seems to have targeted her as responsible
for his bumpy ride. He screams each time
she looms before him.

Paternal care is dispensed with licks
from Dad's own blunt fingers, grooming the
baby's hair into a splendid coxcomb and giving him
a jaunty look. Deplaning at last in California,
the baby lurches down the aisle, attached
post-umbilically to his father's torso
with knots, straps, handles-- all vaguely
echoing what nature has devised.


Barrie said...

I've spent so much time flying when my kids were babies and toddlers that I really appreciate flying with them now. (the youngest is 9)

debra said...

This is lovely, Patti. Thanks for posting it on this day.

Dorte H said...

This is great.

Did you write it yourself?

pattinase (abbott) said...

I started out writing poetry until a number of editors said that my poems were actually stories. Thanks so much!