Before Takeoff, Fidelito Prays
Let us sing of what can be carried.
Let our songs be of hand-carry and Balikbayan boxes.
Let us praise stamps and tickets for passage. Let us sing
The song of duct tape and markers, the song of twine and cardboard.
Let our songs be of shelter for family and pictures.
Let us praise pictures of family picnics and singing
And arms holding children. Let us forget
Humid days left behind and the green, the green . . .
Let children make shelter on plane seats. Let us hide
From the stewardess and no one else.
Let tickets repeat our names and end
Our voices of constant worry. Let us separate
Name from name, mother from mother. Let us praise
An end to hands covering mouths.
Let our worries be of constant singing. Praise our worry.
Let our singing be constant passage.
For children are passing constantly. Praise our passage.
Let the roar of the plane shelter us from worry.
Praise these engines that bring us passage.
Praise our mouths, our constant singing . . .
Oliver de la Paz
Poem, copyright © 2004 by Oliver de la Paz
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2004, From the Fishouse