6.08 / July 2011

The Vampire Tries at Last to Read Twilight on a Cross-Country Flight

First: a continent of rain. Clouds bruise belly of shimmying jet. Knuckles whiten. Words blur, focus impossible. Every story gets it wrong about you: there’s little shame in fear of dying. It’s the living that slices and crawls and undoes. The couple across the aisle battle The New York Times crossword. This is not a project two people should do together, at least not out loud – innermost uncertainties air, facts almost remembered from sixth grade. “An emu is a bird?” “Could that be ‘melee’? Scene of a great disturbance?” “No I think it’s ‘squall.”’ Two hours in and they’ve filled in less than a third of the puzzle. “What could ‘feverish’ be if there’s a B here and an I there?” Who are these people? How did they end up together? What draws them to each other, to word games they have no talent for? Was it sex? The taste of blood? This book, this sealed air, this eternal headache. The plane ratchets from side to side. Pulses quicken, backs straighten. Whisper: Burning, my darlings, burning.

Amorak Huey is a recovering newspaper journalist who teaches creative and professional writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Contrary, Linebreak, Rattle and other journals. He can be found online at www.amorakhuey.net.