I hold a supplementary 7am class
For my poetry students
Who may not pass
Without some remediation.

They file in slowly as if this were the only
Affordable flight
The red-eye if you will.
They crowd into the rows after tossing me a nod
Of the head or, for the really tired ones,
The salute of an eyebrow
(Making sure they get credit)
With minimal exertion –
Our indolent boarding pass exchange.

My inflated smile welcomes them in with more than assurance
And a crisp navy cardigan
Setting the tone for a smooth 60 minute ride.
Norton anthologies open like wings spread across the tarmac,
They get comfortable,
The tails of my neck scarf waving as I take them to exotic places:
The cliffs of Dover
The River Wye
An Irish countryside for blackberry picking
A field of daffodils dancing.
Of course they just want to get where they have to go
While I push the beverage cart
Imagining the excitement of an emergency landing,

A terrifying hijacker, or maybe even
A silken parachute – my new aegis – gently guiding me
Now passenger and student.
Like a paper airplane listing to the right
I spy Shelley’s strange sonnet,
Time-ravaged ode to sandy Ramesses,
Its lines lasting longer than any empire.

I turn toward the bone-fog
And spot Coleridge’s wedding guest
Frozen, enchanted
By the glittering-eyed mariner
Speaking in rhyme of the albatross he wore
Not unlike this billowing sheet,
Air-laden reminder that
I am falling
Into my own lesson
Whose hard ground will announce our flight has ended.