The plane rears up and springs
down the runway.
I close my eyes
I lay my head back and dream
of the nature of heaven
and three goodbyes
You and I are having words.
On the edge of the table is a cup of coffee.
in a moment of gathering silence,
an airplane pauses.
The hitchhiker told me he'd been in prison for manslaughter.
He'd been driving a fast car,
trying to elude the police,
crossed the bridge at 120
and didn't make the turn.
His best friend was in the passenger's seat.
He pointed out the telephone pole as we drove past.
"I got a Camaro in Port Hardy.
I'm fixing it up," he said.
"I'll be dead in six months."
It was a challenge.
Up through the tunnel of trees,
there was a white contrail in a blue sky
like a path to heaven.
I didn't say anything for a while
but I slowed to sixty to cross the bridge.
equals the mass of the cup and its contents
times the height of the table
times the acceleration of gravity,
32 feet per second
The cup is carelessly balanced
and my passing sleeve is all it takes.
With that small momentum,
the coffee flies out and away;
but it doesn't fall any faster than the cup.
Galileo proved that
by dropping cannon balls off the Tower of Pisa.
When I was in university,
the engineers did the same thing from the clock tower.
All that metal in the air.
When the cup meets the tile, it loses.
The coffee spreads across the floor seeking
a state of balance between opposing forces.
is the tendency of matter toward disorder.
We have words
and we cling to them
as though our lives depended on it..
The element of catastrophe
is part of every equation.
Every automobile implies a telephone pole.
Every airplane full of people
is coiled with disaster as it climbs:
a frayed wire,
a lightening strike,
smoke in the cockpit,
every single word,
is the last one.
An airplane flies
when lift and thrust
exceed gravity and drag.
I don't want to be begging forgiveness
when I fall from the sky,
when the silver airliner
opens like a dry bean
and scatters its seeds over th prairie fields.
I want to whisper my three goodbyes
and have the last word
brush my lips.
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