Flyover Country

Miguel Aldaco


I saw St. Paul empty as a billboard, my sight
bargaining a free fall through airplane window panes
that moment my backseat TV went off.

I only look down when the geometry is simple.
Mahtomedi townhomes and Maplewood apartment blocks
stab back like rows of shark’s teeth, arcade of triangles
so the snow won’t buckle
and move right in.

Each address
a dewey decimal,
every living room gym whiffs of cathedral.
That fitness of new religion considers no room for afterlife.

Abuzz I dust the rafters,
asylum from the prodigies who meet me on the tarmac.
I pretend they’re not my nightmares,
pretend I’m one of them.
21 year old senate assistants—American Cossacks in navy pea coats
comprehend the world as horse and rifle.

So I get away and imagine a holiday
for the dumb-dumbs and the nit-wits,
the nincompoops, and harlots,
all the half-pints and human hiccups—
someday full pints,
turned business executives, pilots, and professors.
I imagine a holiday for all the re-construed connoisseurs of guffaw
and lager.

Even imagine a holiday from the hangovers,
from the hang nails and further cavalier trifles
pinched at the steaming corners
of all half-baked days.

Myself, a seed in the pee pod we call coach,
settle with a drink coupon, the wettest kernel.
Ever the humanitarian, imagine a vacation
for those common American monsters
fluffing couch pillows on Christmas Eve before tree lights go dim.
sidestep suitcases, climb the staircase,
frayed gigabytes in the hallway, need more juice.

I even imagine a holiday for all the scarves dropped
on train tracks, a day for bent tickets
swollen hands
tender digits
as they scour down from the platform
and fetch a baby blue Father’s Day accolade.

And how about a vacation
from that worst kind of racism, the dull rub
of when it’s just too hard to tell. Holiday
from the tin roll
of trolling earbuds, a shivering zip up
the escalator ricochet—
exhale into Ft. Totten’s red line midnight transfer chill.

I broker a vacation for that fitness trainer
adrift in membrane—juggling night classes
on Nabokov and tax law.
Slack skinned Saturday night gargoyle, that dark wing
over Georgetown libraries.

Myself a scent of sleet above the ether,
a paying customer, I imagine a holiday for Atlas,
who on the first day of March simply collapses
like a six pack, no one
so grasps the weight of water and snow.