I can’t remember whether
my flight left at 10:20
or when I gave up on home

cruising at thirty-eight thousand feet
for four hours and six minutes
from Milwaukee to San Francisco
is the farthest I’ve been from the land

billowing white below me
clouds gather with the warning
“whatever you do, don’t look down”
and like the best prophets
they are burned away

when the clouds clear
the Earth is flayed,
bruised, and stitched with asphalt
like the beloved after an accident
alive and loved
but deeply scarred

bumping over hills and valleys
which aren’t even hills and valleys
but what the pilot calls turbulence
I tell myself
“it’s only thin air”

I am dizzy and confused
another home vanishes
as Utah slides east beneath me
it takes half an hour
to cross the entire state
half an hour
where once I lingered for eight years

as the attendants prepare
the cabin for landing
I fasten my seat belt
and try to return my heart
to an upright and locked position