I must admit something happened to my spirit during check-in: a dampening, but also a lit match dragged around the fringes. So this is what it feels like to have a corporation’s brand seared into your butt cheeks. What’s next? Flight attendants hawking hocked watches, an altitude tax if the plane quivers over thirty thousand feet? A sign says water is complimentary. You fill your mouth, then notice the fine print: but swallowing is five dollars. It’s the small humiliations that drag a person down—hustling to your parked car and finding a yellow ticket splattered on the windshield like a rotten egg. My spirit is heavy now, the seltzer you sprayed on my wings, as you spirited me away, another forty bucks in fees, scraped out of me.
Jeffrey McDaniel has published four books of poetry, most recently The Endarkenment (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008). He teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College.