Steve McOrmond

The Hypochondriac Flies to Mexico

The plane is sick. Fever
shudders through its aluminum skin.
The hatch hums closed, a stopper
in a test tube of plague. En route to takeoff,
the pilot’s nasal drawl, “Thank you for flying
Pandemic Air.” The plane is sick. It hobbles aloft,
the landing gear withdraws into the belly
like shocked testicles. Seated on the aisle, I squint
down the length of the cabin: human convection plumes,
germ haloes. The woman in the window seat
makes three trips to the restroom in an hour — Adenovirus,
Norwalk, dysentery? The plane is sick,
its cargo contagion. My throat
abraded by recycled air, the stuporous quiet
by a child’s sobs and tubercular wheezes,
I want to say, with the time that is left,
I always loved you, would follow
you anywhere. Squeeze my hand.
See how our words
trail into coughs?

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