My wife gets gassy and wonders if I still love her in this airport where she squints her face to shape how the air may smell for a few seconds, because I don’t squint back but roll my eyes or nod my head or laugh or whatever I do for that split second that makes her question my love, my heart’s distance from her heart like something that could be measured in the number of pages between poems that belong together in a book, but closer together. And I can tell you this because you are far away. And if you are not, you will be. And if you are, you will be just sitting there in your favorite chair or on your porch or waiting for your lover to come strolling through the rain out of the doctor’s office while your old truck hums. Or you will be somewhere very close to me, thinking I’m making it all up, the whole thing about my wife getting gassy just to get a good laugh from you, to lead you through the terminal you may have imagined in an airport I may have imagined to get you to the bit about the book, to make you forget the laugh and replace it with something else. You may think that I probably don’t even have a wife, but people get gassy all the time, and plenty people have wives, and there is a lot of love to be found in airports, and there are questions and wonderment and the lady sitting next to me on the plane who I shield these words from whenever I reveal my wife getting a little gassy because I know my sentences reveal more to strangers, so I hold my arm just so to shield what I say as if I am writing a secret on a sheet of golden paper and am about to slip it to the seat in front of me, where my beautiful wife sits in the midst of this particular air, which we are all flying through, with her little hands resting on her wonderful lap.
Christopher Shipman is the author of Human-Carrying Flight Technology (Blaze VOX), Romeo’s Ugly Nose (forthcoming from Allography Press), and co-author of Super Poems (forthcoming from Kattywompus Press). His poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, Exquisite Corpse, The Offending Adam, La Fovea, and Salt Hill. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been featured on Verse Daily. Shipman is poetry editor of DIG Magazine in Baton Rouge and teaches English at Baton Rouge Community College.