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Flight

Anne Sexton

Thinking that I would find you,
thinking I would make the plane
that goes hourly out of Boston
I drove into the city.
Thinking that on such a night
every thirsty man would have his jug
and that the Negro women would lie down
on pale sheets and even the river into town
would stretch out naturally on it’s couch,
I drove into the city.
On such a night, at the end of the river,
the airport would sputter with planes
like ticker-tape.

Foot on the gas
I sang aloud to the front seat,
to the clumps of women in cotton dresses,
to the patches of fog crusting the banks,
and to the sailboats swinging on their expensive hooks.
There was rose and violet on the river
as i drove through the mist into the city.
I was full of letters I hadn’t sent you,
a red coat over my shoulders
and new white gloves in my lap.

I dropped through the city
as the river does,
rumbling over and under, as indicated,
past the miles of spotted windows
minding their own business,
through the Sumner Tunnel,
trunk by trunk through its sulfurous walls,
tile by tile like a men’s urinal,
slipping through
like somebody else’s package.

Parked, at last,
on a dime that would never last,
I ran through the airport.
Wild for love, I ran through the airport,
stockings and skirts and dollars.
The night clerk yawned all night at the public,
his mind on tomorrow’s wages.
All flights were grounded.
The planes sat and the gulls sat,
heavy and rigid in a pool of glue.

Knowing I would never find you
I drove out of the city.
At the airport one thousand cripples
sat nursing a sore foot.
There was more fog
and the rain came down when it thought of it.
I drove past the eye and ear infirmaries,
past the office buildings lined up like dentures,
and along Storrow Drive the streetlights
sucked in all the insects who
had nowhere else to go.