The flight I did not take

The flight I did not take
was the flight that left on time, pulling out of the gate
at eight-
-oh-five a.m.
precisely
no delay or pause, no need to hesitate and reboot navigation.

The flight I did not take
was the flight where I did not spill my coffee
halfway down the jetway
where the entertainment system was filled with music I didn’t know
but loved precisely.
It was the flight with attendants handing out
room temperature water
no ice
no slippery napkin
no pretzels
just chocolates and caramels and a chaser of strong black coffee.

The flight I did not take
was the flight with three cute babies
all giggling, none crying
and one tiny dog that escaped down the aisle
and stopped at my seat so I could pet it.

The flight I did not take arrived twenty minutes early
and my hair was not tangled
and I arrived at the train platform just as the train pulled up
and I stepped on and was whisked away to my much-loved far-away city.

The flight I did not take
led me to zero jetlag
to afternoon tea every day at four
to sunny and non-humid weather
to cheerful and collaborative work meetings
and plenty of free time.

After the flight I did not take, I slept well
and woke, refreshed,
in a new and different city.

Morning flight

This morning at the flats the tide was out
the earth remaining watery-grey
with long-billed sandpipers stalking, bending low
seizing what they found.
In the channel nearby the pelicans swooped
practicing crash-landings, legs stuck out before
webbed feet braced for impact.

I ran past stands of fennel and sage,
eyes squinted in the morning light,
my own feet kicking up gravel and dust.
I paused to watch the sandpipers sweep their beaks
left and right
in swivel motion with round bodies
mirrored in the slick mud they stood on.

Twenty minutes out, and fifteen back:
not much time required
for grace.