The Crying Baby Flight

by Rick Campbell

We are landing in the night
and the lights make our town a city
the way one light in the dark
seems like home, seems safe.
The babies were brown & cried
loud in the native tongue of babies,
not the Sinhalese, or Bengali I imagined
their father used when he said
what no doubt meant be quiet little one
or shut the fuck up (and who among us
would know, though many of us were
thinking it). I prefer the former.
Then baby said to all of us
I have to pee pee. I have to pee pee,
and we wanted to say Jesus, fuck man,
let the damn kid pee, but we were landing
and none of us could move and I
imagined a river of pee moving under
my seat, soaking my computer bag,
gliding toward the pilot’s locked door.
Threat code yellow, threat code warm.
I raised my feet and then the baby was quiet
and his father too.

RICK CAMPBELL is a poet and essayist living on Alligator Point, Florida. He is the author of six poetry collections, including Gunshot, Peacock, Dog (Madville Publishing, 2019). His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including The Georgia ReviewFourth RiverKestrel, and New Madrid. He teaches in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.