A Similar Thing

The radio said a Cessna made an emergency landing

ont the same side of the freeway I was driving on

minutes earlier. This happened in Gallup

on the way to Salt Lake City from Dallas. So,

I have convinced myself I can make something of it

because one can take such liberties in poetry, the way a gull

dives for food at the stern of a ferry

while crossing the bay. A similar thing happened

five years later while driving back from cold nights

in San Francisco, the sea made me homesick

for the coast of Texas, Baytown, where I cut my foot

on the beach. There, I saw two men pulling

a sack of seaweed from the water. A boy my age

had drowned. The undertow, brought him there

from a mile away. He shouldn’t have been out anyway,

the water was too cold. He was only doing what I would have

had I not seen him blue and swollen.

But I cut my foot and left a thread of blood

to my aunt’s back porch. She told me to wade in the ocean

because salt water was good for hurts.

The water was too cold that day, I said.

And so, driving back from San Francisco I saw that Cesna

parked on the side of the highway like it belonged there.

And there was no news of it, because the night before

John Lennon was murdered; the radio played nothing

but his music and talk of his death.

Soon south of the Great Salt Lake, the smell

made me think of where I had been the day before.

Then, the radio said something about a Cessna

making an emergency landing. It was too cold

that day for wading.

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