the boy in seat 24 B


the boy in a dark suit and kippah, was in seat 24B

innocently awkward, he slides into his seat


nine hours of closed space connections

a microcosm of variety within the economy cabin

mental presence, more focus, and more observation

than anyone would have on our average days


“seat upright please”, she clicked her heels as she tapped my arm

looking up, I see the boy in 24B standing, facing backward

towards strangers in seats, straight backs, tray tables open

I nibbled, squirrel-like at my croissant

and scribbled, into my new airport bought notebook


the boy in seat 24B, I start penning

he was young, 17, maybe 18


words tumbled without effort

gliding themselves on smooth pages

as our plane took off, snooth too

hitting through the sparkle of the sun


He is captivating

in his complete submission

sincere in his observance

recitation lighting up his face


the aura of his mitzvah

generous faith, unalloyed

curious eyes reflecting colors of

the turban of the passenger

behind him in 25B


despite the chatter around

and the clatter of airplane cutlery

the mumbling in his own voice

also resonating in our straining ears


he recited to himself

unflinchingly focussed

us around him

were also focused, but

on containing reactions

controlling responses, confusing

our inner reconciliations


scribbled two pages, my pen slipped

as I dozed into bliss, a power nap

“would you like a warm tissue wipe,” she asks

I inhale the warmth, why does it barely last 30 seconds!


his prayer drifts in and out

inhaled and exhaled with his breath

as he wears his tefillin, sincerely

on the left center of his arm

and crown like on his head

choreographed almost, a disciplined practice


He continues through,

standing backward facing

beacon like within

this bubble bird of steel


his performance, full of honesty

every action, every move

being one of submission to

teaching and to grace


can such boundlessness

also, be attempted on land

I wonder as I look at the screen

45 minutes to destination, the map says


will the vastness of the land

still, allow us to be as fearless

as we are within this sterile

universe at 40,000 feet


meanwhile, descriptions of people

can at least be altered

erase the standard, default

definitions and fonts

to be more like handwritten

solicitations that fill

our hearts with an understanding

of each other’s stories


meanwhile, can we eliminate labels

that consolidate genealogy

terms that end with an exclamation mark

listings that are in columns with

lines that are walls of otherness


“have a great stay or a safe onward journey”, in a typical pilot tone

we landed safe and on time

the door opens for deplaning

and as we walk out in single file

a sense of comfort escapes the cabin

swishes out of the door, leaving us

suddenly tired


judgemental fears returned, as we

complete our forms for immigration

I poke into my pockets for my pen

the boy in 24B hands me his pencil

“you can use this,” he says











Published by Kashiana

I am a management professional by job classification and a work practitioner by personal preference. One poetry collection - Shelling Peanuts and Stringing Words and a chapbook, Crushed Anthills. Always gathering poems, and letting them marinate and change shape and form.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: