Night Flight: 3 Dreams Till Take Off

1.
The first night:
I have prepared
carefully for a long trip,
thought it all through,
down to the roots of my unwashed hair,
which I figure I’ll take care of with no-rinse
shampoo I’ll buy at the airport, since
there isn’t time to shower now … No,
I must rush to the airport, to the ticket counter
where I’ll check my bags and show my …
Oh, my … I f– … forgot my passport!

I’ll skip the coda, how I jumped
into my car and tried to drive
home in time to retrieve the document,
return to the plane on time, because
you know this dream, you’ve had it too,
the traffic, the closed roads, the officer motioning
you — or me — to make a u-turn, the minute variations
that make it your dream not mine, or vice versa,
like the baby hanging off a car’s rear bumper,
the need to stop short to avoid hitting the infant …
No matter, the ending is the same:
Missed plane.

2.
The second night:
Again, I’m running to make the plane
just 15 minutes before the flight,
gotta get to Gate 5, but the escalator
is under construction, which hardly matters,
because suddenly I’m sure, 15 minutes isn’t enough
time to board an international flight, and besides,
where’s my passport! I don’t remember packing it!
I reach into my purse, even as I’m looking for an alternate
route to the gate, and a miracle! It’s there, my sturdy blue
passport, and not only that, there’s a paper tucked between
the pages: a boarding pass! I might just make it, I might just make it —
If only I didn’t wake — just then.

3:
Take Off:
No airport this time
Just a woman at a table
who recognizes me as the author
of some play and who stops me to say
it was really great and she thinks, it’s going to
take off. Take off!

Finally! Three nights of dreaming
And I’ve left the tarmac
metaphorically speaking, that is,
which is the best way to travel:
No passport. No boarding pass.
You can just forget
everything.

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