death and departure at imam khomeini airport

by | Autumn 2022, Poetry

tomorrow will be january
in seven days it will be two years.

I step onto the plane,
enveloped by thick nauseating
sweet perfume,
rows of honey spelled skin
like mine,
our tongues dance to the same rhythm.

tight blonde ponytails
wrapped in silk cloths
swing like pendulums
syncing with the shrill click-clack
of their heels,
the flight attendants pace the aisles
ticking seconds, a countdown,
a take off,
a missile launch.

in bed I watch the planes
from the corner of my window,
at 9pm they pass every minute
bellowing and streaking through quiet skies,
the rumble rocks me to sleep
jet engines hum along
to the dishwasher
drifting to the back of my mind.
I am not sure I can love them,
they are not far enough off the ground to be mistaken for stars.

plane crashes are far less common than
death by futons or food poisoning.

but in the metal tin, awaiting take off
at ika airport,
the Hollywood scenes flash before my eyes,
biting and raucous screams
flickering lights
drooping oxygen masks
the beverage cart clashing through the aisle,

I cannot stop thinking
about that flight.
in the very same skies,
in the very same airport,
carbon copies
of the same people,
the inbetweeners,
we are pawns
suspended between two sects of
soil coming and going,
shards of debris
collateral damage
of two empires

was it an instantaneous impact?
was there space for a second of
awareness to contemplate death at the
hands of war? did someone see the
flash of flame from a window seat
milliseconds before
they could open their mouth to scream?

the sweat of my palms loosens
my clench on the armrest.
we take off and
I ponder death,
if this were to happen
again and to me,
I could be one of the lucky ones
who knew it was coming
and could spend the final minutes
pondering the cease of my existence.