Be early, though you’ll inevitably be late. Don’t forget
to tip whoever drives your cab, your shuttle bus. Tolerate
children. Your passport photo will never be flattering,
because you are not allowed to smile. Bring liquor
or melatonin or antihistamines or whatever sedatives are legal
these days. Sleep to avoid jet lag, or exhaust yourself to avoid
jet lag, or don’t bother with either, because they won’t work.
Gum won’t stop your ears from popping. Say Bless your heart
to flight attendants and ticketing agents and mean it. Think
Bless your heart to TSA and customs agents, but don’t say
anything, because it might come out wrong. Observe
how Earth is only a map when you’re 30,000 feet up. Accept
the loss of control, admit you’re at the mercy
of mechanics, logistics, weather.
Allyson Whipple has an M.A. in English and a black belt in Kung Fu. She is currently studying poetry through the UT-El Paso Online MFA Program. Allyson serves as co-editor of the Texas Poetry Calendar, and is the author of the chapbook We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are. She teaches at Austin Community College.