Will Fly for Peanuts

The Monday morning flight isn’t full
and I’m one of the lucky few sitting
alone, which reminds me that I’m
lonely. And lucky. In this economy,
I’m one of the few lucky journalists
who managed to get a job. So lucky
that I live halfway across the country
from my wife. She cried when we
parted at the airport. Like always,
I didn’t cry until one of us boarded
a plane. Now, with tears drying
on my T-shirt sleeve, the steward
gives me two bags of salted peanuts
as if an extra 17 to snack on will
make my plight more bearable.
The airline is still making a big
deal about giving away free snacks
again since business got better.
I want to write one of the happy,
beautiful poems she’s been filling
my mind with all week but that I’ve
been too busy to write. Instead,
I scribble a calendar on paper
to figure out how long it will be
until I see her again. That number
can’t be right. That number
isn’t right, but it’s the number I’ll count
down from starting now. Thank God
I have these peanuts to remind me
how bad it used to be.

by James Patrick Schmidt

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