Jan/Feb 2009 Poetry

Milk Inside

by Sarah Wetzel-Fishman

Artwork by Robert Hoover

Milk Inside

Having lost track of the hours,
I wake, a woman in the seat
next to me weeping
delicately, the thin
blue current of her shoulders
almost indistinguishable
from the shudders of the plane.
I'm not usually like this,
she says, shifting eyes from mine
to the window. I tell her, we are
all like this at times,
to the book in my lap.
What I want to tell her is
stop. I've grown so impatient
with misery. In the book, a man
descends thirty-six thousand feet
below sea level to stare
at the deepest spot of the world.
Through his tiny portal cracking
under the enormous pressure
of ocean, he says the snuff-colored
ooze at the bottom resembles
a big bowl of milk. We think
we know misery
yet can't even speak eloquently
of even such a visible chasm.
Inside the plane nothing happens.
We are hundreds of miles
off course, our shape we recognize
only by the shadow
following. The woman stares out
the window, waiting for something
that won't come. She rises
then sits back down.
What I mean to tell her is
keep going.


Note: Jacques Piccard was a Swiss engineer and explorer and one of only two people (as of 2008), along with Lt. Don Walsh, to have reached the deepest point on the earth's surface, the Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench. He wrote a book called Seven Miles Down, describing the 1960 dive.


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