Jet Lag


Jet Lag      


She landed at dawn. The plane smooth coasting through the clear morning. The first day of sun in six months, she’s told. Bright sun and temps in the 70s. April first and home a long day away to the west.

An ocean away. Three time zones away.

She did the usual. Got off the plane, followed lines of other bored, tired passengers from arrow to arrow, through customs, to the luggage-go-round and finally out into the London streets.

Here she is not known, her birthday today not merely forgotten but unknown. She becomes, really this time, just a drop of water in the ocean, indecipherable, unseen, no boundaries, nothing, just swirling eddies through the crowds boarding buses, getting off buses, unseen.           

She arrives at the address scrawled on the rumpled scrap of paper that has been taken out and returned to her pocket over and over. It is a tiny brick house with those always English lace curtains. Her luggage dumped in a room obviously belonging to a girl child. A fleece lamb on the pink flounced coverlet, images of animals and flowers cover the walls.

In the postage-stamp yard flowers are fighting each other for the sun amid lush overgrown vegetation. So many flowers, colors, sun, back home a cold dampness still held the land but here summer blooms early and the day of her arrival is even by London standards warm.

She sits in the tiny yard feeling unseen for once with good reason. The sun soaks into her skin fills her body with cherished warmth. There is no place she is needed or will be missed if she doesn’t show.

She waits. Her mind exploring all the recesses of skin and feels something amiss. She can’t quite put her finger on what is missing. She has packed everything she needs and then some. Yet a nagging something holds her attention. She waits as the sun moves across the sky and shadows cover her as a tattered afghan, light and dark splashes lightly wrapping her in the subtle movement of the time.

There is a sense of remoteness about all her surroundings. True, she has never been here before, nothing recognizable. Yet there is no sense of wonder or excitement or even apprehension. She has just crossed the ocean for the first time, landed in a foreign country, on her birthday. Always a timid sort of person never risking adventures and frightened of unknown places and people, she wonders why she feels so lethargic lying in the backyard of this house of absentee owners.

She fingers a frail flower and thinks back to the rush out of the house, the airport limo, the baggage line, the terminal, all those endless corridors. Could some bit of her be missing? Didn’t make the plane, Caught in a closing elevator door? Stopped by a red light? It is hard these days to keep all the pieces together. They fly off at loose ends, get disconnected. Sometimes she catches bits of herself caught on a branch or snagged on a door latch and has to stop and gather ends together. Sometimes, and these are the bad days, a sudden gust of wind will come and blow a scrap of herself up and away tumbling over sidewalks and she has to scurry to find it.

What with planes and trains and escalators things just moved too quickly for a body and soul to stay together.

That’s it! Her soul took a wrong turn somewhere back at a crossroads. Didn’t make the flight or off on another flight. Maybe landing in Bali, or Katmandu or Victoria, CA, heading west instead of east. Or shivering in the closet the last time she ran in for that other dress she couldn’t leave behind.

Well, there is nothing to do but wait now. Will all the lost pieces of her soul back together, all the flying thoughts and emotions, like birds coming home to roost in twilight. If she can only try hard enough to reach out her mind as a beacon to light the way back. Her soul will come flying in on the jet stream only a little worse for wear to settle back nice and cozy within her waiting body.

She hopes her soul finds its way back before the performance of St. Matthew’s Passion in the old church down the street. She did think that would be good start to her foreign adventure and Bach without a soul in residence would certainly sound out of harmony. And what about her dreams or waking tomorrow?

It must come. She will leave the window open

Eve Rifkah 

 Eve Rifkah was co-founder of Poetry Oasis, Inc. (1998-2012), a non-profit poetry association dedicated to education and promoting local poets. Founder and editor of DINER, a literary magazine with a 7-year run. MFA Vermont College. She is author of “Dear Suzanne” (WordTech Communications, 2010) and “Outcasts    the Penikese Leper Hospital 1905-1921” (Little Pear Press, 2010). Chapbook “Scar Tissue”, (Finishing Line Press, 2017), “At the Leprosarium” 2003 winner of the Revelever Chapbook Contest. Single poems have appeared in many journals.


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