Fire Engines

by Michael Estabrook

There was a time when I didn’t mind 
flying all that much, traveled everywhere
for business meetings and conventions
and to visit customers.

Everywhere I went I collected
small souvenir spoons—maybe 100 of them—
for my daughter. They’re in a cardboard box
in the attic or under the stairs.

Flying was simpler then.
You could keep your belt on and your shoes.
Once I had to disclose my tiny travel tube of toothpaste 
to the security guard who was there to protect us.

On every flight there seemed to be
a pretty stewardess who stretched herself
over you to shut the overhead bin,
her scent lingering in her wake.

Sometimes there’d be a young businesswoman
in a proper businesswoman’s suit 
leafing through the in-flight magazine,
feet slipped out of shiny business shoes,
toenails painted red as fire engines.

———
Michael Estabrook is a small press poet since the 1980s who is striving always for greater clarity and concision, rendering language more succinct and precise, more accessible and appealing, a Sisyphean adventure for sure. He is retired now, writing more, and while working more outside just noticed two Cooper’s hawks staked out in the yard, or rather above it, which explains the nerve-racked chipmunks. The Poet’s Curse, A Miscellany is a recent collection (The Poetry Box, 2019).