Nathanael O’Reilly

 

 

Return Flight

 

Tired sunburned passengers

flying home from vacations

 

puzzle over Sudoku and crosswords

doze against strangers’ shoulders

 

read thrillers and airline magazines

grudgingly answer email on laptops

 

watch Game of Thrones on iPads

draw pictures of Harry Potter characters

 

pray that the big guy doesn’t recline

snack on mini pretzels

 

sip coffee and orange juice

retract elbows, shoulders and feet

 

to evade the drinks cart

and wide-hipped passengers

 

charging down the aisle

doze off with nodding heads

 

startle themselves awake with snorts

escort kids to the toilets

 

curse the airline for lack of legroom

and exorbitant alcohol prices

 

scroll through photos on phones

searching for elusive images

 

capturing the happiest, most exciting

and beautiful moments

 

editing the decent and deleting the crap

like revisionist historians

 

 

 

Nathanael O’Reilly is an Australian residing in Texas. His books include Preparations for Departure, Distance, Cult, Suburban Exile and Symptoms of Homesickness. His poetry has been published in journals and anthologies from nine countries, including Antipodes, Cordite, Glasgow Review of Books, Mascara, Postcolonial Text, Tincture and Verity La.

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