We arrived in the windy city thirty minutes ago,
two hours delayed.
                         No apologies.
Many passengers are missing their connections,
but I opted in for a seven-hour layover
to enjoy the midwestern feel, after all.

Never seen a substitute plane in the US
until today, a generic plane,
with no United Airlines on it.
I tell you, flying in and out of Central PA
                         has its upside.
There’s always material for poetry.

Have you ever heard an airline attendant say,
“We will be delayed
because the plane's computer is telling
                  us that one of its engines
is very low on oil?” Yes, low on oil,
like a car, like something

that needs ground to ground it,
like a motorcycle. And then a technician
comes on board, screws things in,
                  while he’s on the phone. 
Thirty minutes, he’s still screwing
the plane together. By then, I'm saying

the Lord's prayer, the 23rd Psalm,
the 125th Psalm, the Bible. I'm calling on Moses
to part the Red Sea for me.
               I want to grab my husband,
and run, but good old, trusting husband
and comfortable Americans are sitting

there, waiting for a screwed-up plane
the way Americans wait. Silent, staring,
                          comfortably eating a donut,
sipping a drink, unlike me, this Grebo
woman who has seen death over and over.
Finally, the teenage-looking pilot
needs a bathroom break, and he runs

to the restroom. And another 15 minutes,
the tech person leaves. We take off,
                        bumpy, a Canadian plane,
I realize, and now I'm thinking of a lake
where we can land, but the landing,
bumpy, clouds, Lake Michigan, inviting,

but thank goodness, the young pilots forgot
to dump us in its blue foams, Lake Michigan,
            blue, beautiful, and polluted,
but it's still Lake Michigan.
When I grow up, I want to be a fish,
a big blue fish, if I ever grow up.

Used with permission of the author.