Michelle Brittan Rosado – Poem in the Form of a Seating Chart for an Airbus A380

Michelle Brittan Rosado

Editor’s note: This poem is best viewed on the full width of a desktop or laptop screen.

Poem in the Form of a Seating Chart for an Airbus A380

When the takeoff      is over and the city of San Francisco      doesn’t slide off 
the tilting side of      the earth and all becomes still water     for hours 
and hours I am      back next to the aisle in wonder      at elbows 
and the sound      of our metal buckles opening      and clasping shut 
again and the beep      before the captain speaking      nothing 
I understand      and the curves of ice in the concentrated      orange 
juice flattening      against my tongue and the tailored      batik uniforms
of the flight      attendants and the intimations      of whispered 
dialects and      the deep white noise of the engines      spinning 
a cocoon      around us and the funnel of air conditioning      from above 
my head      like an extraction from the clouds and the part      of me leaving 
or arriving     all my life never quite there always      anticipating waiting 
the concept      of family on the other side      of the earth 
with my ears full      of cotton and no one can quite hear      anyone but we are 
together and loneliness      feels like a chamber we can break      open into new air

Author’s note: The poems in this series all use the image of a window as their starting point, some in the title itself and others more peripherally. I’ve been thinking of this symbol a lot lately — as a portal for wonder in childhood, an aperture to others’ lives during the pandemic, a view of the world outside after giving birth and spending those early days indoors. These poems may not have come into existence without the invitation to contribute to The Fresno 15, and I am endlessly grateful to the MFA program for my years there and the deep sense of community I’ve carried with me since graduating in 2011. Thank you for reading and for supporting the Larry Levis Memorial Scholarship. 

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