freight train in yellows and grays

1. for those of you
waking up
at 3:20 a.m.

cassette tape cued up to
bruce springsteen on fire
freight train in yellows and grays
cued up and rolling along
only the way tons of metal on metal can

you say same diff
as a a plane lowers itself ahead of us
on the highway
and i am transported
to 1988

tsa employee in blue latex gloves
swabs something across my palms
without telling me what it is
while you wait
to wave wildly
across the glass barrier

the shine of wet laid flat
across blacktop tarmac outside
gate 4A, pdx

she says
is the native language of her tribe
heading home
to juneau
hoping to make the tight connection
in seattle

row 14
seat E
tucked in the middle of a germ sandwich
sneezes to the left in 14D
and lungcoughs to the right in 14F

there is no one waiting for me
at the san diego airport
except a van
with the words ‘prime time shuttle’
on its side
is the difference
between san diego
and portland

upon landing
the captain over the loudspeaker:
may god bless you in the year to come
isn’t that illegal?
i wonder

and from our flight attendant
again over the loudspeaker:
and to all of those of you who have served
or are serving in the armed forces
thank you
for protecting our freedom
and our country
a real
‘we’re not in kansas anymore’ moment