a routine check   six to nine months   
lesson in the velocity of stage four cells

the sudden gravity of it thrusts you into the pilot’s seat
navigating crosswinds   struggling to keep him aloft. 

ten years ago it was you facing a storm front   
pulling out of a nosedive, earning your wings. 
milagro the doctors called you.

       death is proud and holds a grudge. 

cabin pressure drops    the engines roar beneath you   
maybe we’ll beat this.

       there’s not always time to file a new flight plan.

the pills make his angular face a soft circle of moon
the chemo takes his hair 

you see him still as your love at 19, laying in st augustine grass,
writing names in the clouds 
guessing destinations of planes above. 

       how swiftly can a jet fall from the sky? 

you hold on   anticipate the moment tires hit runway   
the bounce   the screech. 

now you worry: 
how long before his face disappears 

• • • •

To be published in The Loch Raven Review, April 2021
Photo by Leio McLaren (leiomclaren.com) on Unsplash