Two flight attendants strap and buckle
the young woman into the wheelchair
that will roll her from the departure lounge
down the loading ramp to the 737.
Both parents hover, anxious birds
over a fledgling out of the nest.
Her body is a prison that both holds
and gives her substance, but is useless
to her because it will not obey
her silent commands.
A ragdoll, she slides, uncontrolled,
side to side and would capsize the chair
were it not for one or the other
of her parents there to right her,
to forestall mischance, as they have
doubtless done so often before,
and will continue to do
for as long as she perseveres,
for as long as she endures
the unresponsive substance
of blood and bone that
will neither move her,
nor set her free.
Except for her eyes
and her face, so much alive,
she would be a mere
lump of flesh. Her mouth
twists and her vocal chords
utter a sound that is not a word
but the purest expression
of will, despite a body that thwarts
her every turn. Her animated
eyes and face are open windows
for us to peer inside.