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Voyeur: SW Flight 1380

in Health by

Breathing apparatus
pop out of
ceiling compartments
and dangle
like orange poppies
upside down
on springy tubes.

The passengers
fail to place the cups
over their noses
and only cover
their mouths,
eyes round
and pupils wide
in cell phone video
of the cabin.

Sitting
in my living room at home
I can’t remember
the flight attendant’s
exact instructions
– isn’t there
a rubber band
you place
around your head?

Jumpy turbulence,
heads bobbing,
I try to figure out
how one assumes
the crash position
face down on knees
while holding
an oxygen mask.

All this
from where I sit
in front of the TV.
I could easily be
in Row 26, Seat D

– the video
lets me see
right down the middle
of the aisle.

The news report
cuts away.

A man comes on
in a cowboy hat,
chokes up. Says
something like
I did my best.
I can’t hear him
in the sucking
whoosh of air.
I tried, he says

to pull the woman
back in
from the open
broken window
above the rent
and severed
airplane
propeller.

 


READ MORE

Husband of Southwest airlines victim: “I have no idea how I can do this without her” [CBS]
The blown engine on Southwest flight 1380 suffered “tooth decay” [Popular Mechanics]
Southwest Airlines’ safety culture questioned amid frayed relationship with mechanics’ union [Dallas News]


Mary Torregrossa is a story-listener as well as a story-teller. Her poems appear in Bearing The Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, in Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, and in Voices From Leimert Park Redux, an anthology of “observers and keepers of culture” from the World Stage in Los Angeles. Individual poems are part of Poet Laureate Juan Fellipe Herrera’s Poems for Unity project as well as Lament For The Dead, a project honoring victims of gun violence. Mary is a winner of the Arroyo Arts Collective Poetry In The Windows community event and named Newer Poet of Los Angeles XIV by the Los Angeles Poetry Festival.

Photography by Marquette LaForest.