Ready for Take Off – a poem by Whitney Friedrich

Online reservations-
the click, click of computer keys,
like M-16s loading up drown the
screams that ring out over Iraq as
our American Express cards bend in pain
from the rising price of travel.

The plane gains altitude,
And passengers grip their upright coffins-
They drink vodka tonics as children
Living in darkness scream in a place
we watch on the ten o’clock news.

Flight attendants please,
[double] cross-check and prepare
for takeoff. Ladies and gentlemen,
sit back and enjoy your non-stop ride to
World War III.

Then, seatbelts buckled, the plane rocks in
the turbulence that the pilot was too much of
an amateur to avoid and the plane goes down in
a screaming stream of smoke and ash and
ignorant glory as a voice crackles over the
intercom and the stench of burning hair envelops.

I wonder what this button does…

Whitney Friedrich can be contacted at