How to exercise on a plane


Although she felt fine
the airline card suggested:
“Cross your legs. Rotate
the dangling foot in a circle.
Continue until tired.”
She tried fifty stretches but still
the landing gear lodged sideways.
She could see the front wheel
turned wrong on live satellite tv
as her foot circled obediently,
moved maybe-clots around
her body stuck in the narrow
space in coach seating.

Soon her ankles felt as loose
as a broken wheel.

She knew her son watched
at home, could see the stupid
wheel jammed crosswise,
and her hands cramped suddenly
from holding steady as the plane flew
for three hours to burn fuel.

When finally the pilot said:
“bend down” she leaned over
until the plane’s nose dipped
low enough for the broken wheel
to mar the runway’s center line with fire.

She knew her time had come
despite the exercise

because the news showed everything
except how her son must have stood
tense as a blocked artery
until the plane stopped
and the tv went blank.

© 2005 Christine Klocek-Lim

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