You ask me what I will do when you leave the earth.
The best I can say, by way of comfort for all concerned,
Is that the contrails will each be a strand of your hair.
How else to let it be known that nothing is ever known.
At each baggage check, the guards unload our packing;
At thirty thousand feet, we already begin to feel lighter
And the sun looking over the tops of cumulous clouds
Recognizes you. Science dictates that mass stays constant
At these heights, but you've given up food and the cancer
Will have none of it. You've taken to twirling a rosary
Passed down from your mother and all of her history.
The wood's faded from age and leaves your fingerprints
On my arm as you take in all of the Grand Canyon below.
We squeeze our knuckles blue during each descent, and kiss.
This hollow assurance that landing happens is like me
Saying, I'll be fine; everything will be just alright.
Your going only means that some of us are staying
Somewhere. These new planes display screens that chart
Where we are at all times, and how long it takes
To shrink distances. With our runways focused,
Your breaths, your memory, are always up for grabs.
Marcel Brouwers is completing a PhD in English/ Creative Writing at Western Michigan University. He has had poems published in Poetry Midwest, Concrete Wolf, The Oklahoma Review, and others.