I wake, having lost track
of the hours, a woman in the seat
next to me weeping
delicately, the thin
blue current of her shoulders
from the shudders of the plane.
I’m not usually like this, she says,
shifting eyes from mine
to the window. I tell her, At times
we are all like this, turning
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 speak eloquently
of even such a visible chasm.
Inside this 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
“Milk Inside” first appeared in Eclectica, Vol. 13, No. 1.