Before I am Jim I am
some kind of criminal,
Nancy says, dropping
down into her trance.
I’m supposed to take notes.

A man is flying to Vegas
and out of the blue his head
is thrust back against the seat.
He sees two propellers burning,
earth coming up to greet him,
little houses growing bigger —
here Nancy screams.

She’s working very hard,
I write on my yellow pad.
I’ve always had a fear of flying.

A silence. A dramatic sigh.
An Irish, maybe a Scottish lad,
a boy and his sister, no parents,
are crossing the sea to America,
the ship breaking up in a storm.
Nancy’s sobbing now.

She’s earning her money, I write.
I have Scottish roots. I’m pretty tight.
I’m afraid of water over my head.

A hooded man arrives,
hands tied behind his back.
He’s praying for a hangman
who knows where to put the knot.
Last rites are read in monotones.
Underneath, a trap door drops
to start his journey down.

Nancy seems all out of breath.
Nancy appears to be dead.


©James L. Ralston


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *