Homecoming | Beside | Eclipse: poems from Diana Khoi Nguyen

By | 1 November 2019


Thank god she offered the exit row aisle. “You don’t want
the center seat,” she said. “It’s miserable,” neither of us said. In the case
of emergency I have consented to assist. In the case of oxygen,
I’m to help myself before others. A flood of youth in matching
missionary shirts board behind me, and I search for clues
of what they’ve done. Did the locals consent? Does anyone ask
before they save? Don’t make an ass of you and me. Sometimes
you just want to know how long after sinking it takes for your lifeless body
to float. I decline a rum floater to stay sharp but who knows
if I’ll need it later. Happy death day, only the can living say. To the extent
of my knowledge. The man in a Swiss dot shirt turns to smile. At what?
Doesn’t he know I’m joyless? It’s expensive to give in, even more so
not to. If someone tries to run to the front to de-board first, I’m really
gonna lose it. Through the cabin doors misled missiles try to find
customs. What kind of missile stops in the middle of a walkway,
for no apparent reason? I must do this all the time. The Swiss dot man
yells at a woman in the immigration line. Another man tells him to cool
it. It seems like a family thing, as they turn to ignore him. “We don’t
know him,” they tell the officer. “Daddy’s not nice when he’s mad,”
the man says to his daughter. What daughter? The officer removes him
and he gets to baggage claim before all of us. I learn a lesson about
harassment. “Welcome aboard the plane train,” the plane train says. You
never know on which side the doors will open.

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