8.01 / January 2013

Failing to Convince my Nephew That It’s OK to Fly

listen to this poem

Alanis warns of Mr. Play-it-safe
whose first flight ends in demise,
          and I think my nephew Jacob, fifteen, autistic,
might grow up to be like that guy,
though his first flight was this fall
to my brother’s wedding in Ohio.

Jacob wet himself rather than
risk getting up to use the bathroom
          with its toilet seat that could suck
him out into the clouded air, into
the space he can’t grab on to.

His mother didn’t hold his hand
because Jacob doesn’t like that
and it’s good, too, because Jacob says
          it reminds him of Jack on LOST
when he comforts Rose while
her husband, of course, is in the bathroom.

The plane still crashes, Jacob tells me now,
and Rose and her husband are separated
for a long time, so where’s the use
in that? Her husband said that planes
          WANT to stay in the air, but he
was wrong. And there was that plane
in Russia with the hole in the engine.

Jacob, I say, that plane flew, it was fine,
most planes are. New strategy: I try
          to explain Say Anything, figure he hasn’t seen it,
but after I describe the boombox talisman,
two lovers boxing out the offense, how at the end
of the movie, it’s sweet that the boy holds
the girl’s hand waiting for the seatbelt light
to pulse, to gently announce that they’ll make it,

Jacob interrupts me, says, No
that’s crap, the screen goes black then,
we don’t even see what happens. Most
          people die during takeoff or landing
anyway, the in between is just biding time.

Brianna P. Stout is a former and future high school teacher from central Ohio. She is currently a poetry candidate in Virginia Tech's MFA program. She enjoys leaving temporary tattoos on too long, petting cats, and baking cookie cakes. She used to like her hands. This is her first publication.
8.01 / January 2013