• Nancy Dafoe

Grotesque Wealth Inequities

Boy on the Skin of an Airplane


They say, “the journey is everything,”

with our destination always and forever the same,

but what of those journeys in which one man

rides in the comfort of an airplane, first class, no less,

with his needs, his wants, and, yes, even his whims met:

champagne in a fluted glass, haute cuisine prepared

as he waits in air-conditioned, spacious room of luxury,

leaning back in refined leather chair, smoking a fat cigar,

the man smiling in his firm conviction of the right

that he holds power over the powerless:

how he spends his waking days; how he destroys

or pardons with a wink or a signature while

a teen boy scrambles desperately, fruitlessly

trying hold onto the skin of an aircraft

about to take off from an airfield under siege,

while his unwed, pretty younger cousin cowers

before entering soldiers tear her apart.


That journey of the child in the gutted streets,

that child whose skin blisters and whose eyes burn,

a child without love or consoling after the death

of her mother in a bombing raid by a side she never took

all the while that aircraft with a most comfortable man

takes off into bluer skies toward the pleasure of one

at the expense of millions. How is it that anyone

wonders about the human need for the invention

of gods and most terrible judgement after death

for those seen as enemy in this most discriminate

journey with billions of paths but only one destination?

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