By Charles Harper Webb
The ticket settles on my desk: a paper tongue
pronouncing "Go away;" a flattened seed
from which a thousand-mile leap through the air can grow.
It's pure potential: a vacation-to-be
the way an apple is a pie-to-be,
a bullet is a death-to-be. Or is the future
pressed into it inalterably—woven between
the slick fibers like secret threads
from the U.S. Treasury? Is my flight number
already flashing as cameras grind and the newly-
bereaved moan? Or does it gleam under Arrivals,
digits turned innocuous as those that didn't
win the raffle for a new Ford truck?
If, somewhere, I'm en route now, am I
praying the winged ballpoint I'm strapped into
will write on Denver's runway, "Safe and Sound"?
Was my pocket picked in Burbank,
and I've just noticed at thirty thousand feet?
Am I smiling, watching the clouds' icefields
melt to smoky wisps, revealing lakes
like Chinese dragons embroidered in blue below?
Lifting my ticket, do I hold a bon voyage,
or boiling jet streams, roaring thunderstorms,
the plane bounced like a boat on cast iron seas,
then the lightning flash, the dizzy plunge,
perfectly aware (amid the shrieks and prayers)
that, live or die, I won't survive the fall?
Spent nearly all of Father's Day in Baltimore, first at the Maryland Zoo, which has a Parakeet Landing like last year's only with more birds (whom sons were very pleased to have landing in their hair, biting their glasses, etc.), where we and apaulled's parents looked at very hot animals in the African region and ate Dippin' Dots by the penguin exhibit. Then we went to Harborplace for seafood (Capitol City Brewery again, since Phillips had a line halfway out the door of the pavilion, J. Paul's wasn't very good the last time we were there, we didn't feel like walking over to the new building to check out the new crab place and the Salmon Chesapeake is really good). A US Navy floating laboratory ship was docked in the harbor, as were the Lady Maryland and Nathan of Dorchester. So it was a nice Father's Day for me, at least!
Now THIS is the way to spend a 90+ degree day! Unfortunately it was not an option for zoo visitors, only this resident polar bear!
This beautiful bird lives in the African Watering Hole aviary, but we couldn't find a sign indicating what it is! And the list of birds on the zoo web site does not have a photo. Help anyone?
A Navy floating laboratory ship with the USS Constellation behind her.
The skipjack Nathan of Dorchester, the schooner Lady Maryland and a tugboat by the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse.
Monday I am having lunch with perkypaduan a.k.a. my favorite cat-sitter, doing a bunch of laundries, shopping, packing, tearing out my hair and getting ready to leave town! Eeeeee!