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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Airplane Safety Video

By: Tresha Faye Haefner

If we have to evacuate, find a stranger at the nearest exit, and promise marriage. 

If he does not have a body, give him yours. 

If you have forgotten to bring a face, ask a flight attendant for a spare.

In the case of disturbing weather, whisper your regret into a brown paper bag. 

Remember, federal law prohibits asking questions in public mirrors.


If we experience rough weather, tighten your secrets across your lap. 

If you see a boy playing with a toy airplane during times of turbulence, it is merely


This is a man’s world. This is a doll’s plane. 

If your father slips between the cracks of your heart, signal a stewardess to tell you the


difference between today and the darkness where he has fallen.

Leave your old story behind. 

You can buy a new family, duty free at any airport. 

The memory of your brother and sister are impossible to save.

You must forget who they are before we land. 


Tresha Faye Haefner’s poetry appears, or is forthcoming in several journals and magazines, most notably Blood Lotus, The Cincinnati Review, Hunger Mountain, Pirene’s Fountain, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Radar, Rattle and TinderBox. Her work has garnered several accolades, including the 2011 Robert and Adele Schiff Poetry Prize, and a 2012 nomination for a Pushcart.

Airplane Safety Video: I come from a family of restless travelers. Our moto is “Home is Where You Keep the For Sale Sign.” We were always moving and changing houses. I’ve avoided writing about them and about my childhood for years, but recently have been investigating it more, thinking about how my parents’ lifestyle has affected me. How I’m the same as them and different, investigating what it means to move, to travel, to be constantly in transition, up in the air, away from the ground. Last spring, on a trip back from Rome with my family I was highly intrigued and entertained by Delta’s safety video, which was very creative and strange, with images of a flight attendant bringing a man his face, and other potentially very metaphorical images. I thought about the first time I left home in general. . . a way of escaping my family, becoming my own person, remaking my life, remaking my own family. . . I think that first and most potent image of a stewardess bringing a faceless man his own face was really what grounded me in the poem . . . this concept of traveling as a way of creating, finding, or even appropriating another personality intrigued me, and the other ideas – escaping with a stranger, promising marriage, leaving your family in the overhead compartment, all followed suite.


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