Night goes back into the body as it crosses the Atlantic,
carrying secret speech, a song sung between presidents.
The plane crosses one of many internationally-agreed-upon shores
between twilight and dusk, refuels with the night that only happens
in the middle of the ocean, which no one is using right now.
A flight attendant offers me ocean-night in a plastic cup, no ice. No wonder
my skin feels so dry, no wonder I dream like a child, open-mouthed.
The pilot does this so amid the ocean’s constant swallowing
daylight may come, remind the ocean of its relative endlessness,
which, being blind, it never forgets.
No wonder my seatmate confesses: every night he drinks a whiskey
and narrates another part of his life story to a tape recorder.
Do I know I share a first name with the widow
of a prime minister whose country is at war with its own sun.
Widow who watched night vanish into her husband’s body on the sidewalk,
saw her life become west, a desert of day.
The attendant turns the lights out, and just then we remember
what we learned at birth: the big star that keeps us alive
is the tongue of a bell at noon, endlessly tolling
the mourner’s prayer. No wonder we gather
the night around us as long as we’re in the sky, loving how
it encrypts our bodies, refrigerates our grief.
Photo Credit Asher Isbrucker