Meditation on an Airplane

I watch distant blue hills, mountains that check off into the clouds

or the water. I am afraid of getting old.

I am afraid of forgetting

what time it is

what gate to depart

what I’m doing here.

I try to look as intelligent as possible

perky, alert

but I am afraid of the dark paths

where maps don’t quite meet

or where

mountains of memory are being submerged

in cloudscapes.

I am afraid of stiffness

of feeling my blood shift when I put my feet

on the floor

I’ve always been afraid of disorganization,

like body fluids spilling

out of open veins.

I am afraid of growing old

because it is so vague.

The sense of myself is as sharp

as a morning in Kansas

where a girl stood by a barbed wire fence

eyeing the ceramic knobs and taut wire

wondering if it was

electric — to touch or crawl under?

I fear growing old

because I see the youthful adepts jogging

where I walk.

Not wanting my spirit

to fail before the body.

There’s something I want to have said or done

I may lose the where with all

to find this something;

A reason I’m here

An aching untold story

A making I don’t want to leave undone.

I’m afraid I’ll die of a pointless life

not a dread disease.

I’m afraid of aching to the end

without producing




I’m afraid of being used up

before I’m gone.

In what activity do they first teach you

how to fall?

(besides parachuting)

I’m afraid of growing old.

Published by River Brown

Grant Writer with the San José Area Writing Project, B.A. Serigraphy, San José State University, M.A. Ed, Teaching & Learning, National Hispanic University, San Jose, Ca, Retired Intervention Specialist.

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