Flyover: a poem

(A poem about travel, privilege, poverty tourism, and the intersections of all)
By Ruthie Zolla

Isn’t it funny
that high up in the clouds
above the glistening heat of the sweaty trees
and their sweaty choppers,
smiling Dutch stewardesses
in perfectly coordinated outfits
wake us out of our reveries
with ice cream cones,
a perfectly wrapped half of an egg salad sandwich,
sweet little stroopwaffels,
and miniature containers
of cold Swiss water?.
There are even aloe vera towels
for un-sweaty hands,

while down below
a people seethe with life.
There is struggle in that life,
struggle beyond the wildest dreams
of those who need an aloe vera towel,
an ice cream cone
to feel cared for.

under the airless clouds
life throbs along.

the sweaty trees fall quickly
in big, swift strides.
But sometimes,
they, like their choppers,
hold on hold on hold on.
They cradle life in their branches,
witnessing it come into and out of the world
as fast or as slow as time allows.

when things get hard
and the ground cracks
because it
and the people it floors
are thirsty,
the sweaty trees shrivel.
The life they witness,
never does.
There is a lot of loving to be done,
under and around these trees.
And yes,
there is also pain.

But when the trees whistle,
and a little shadow passes
over a people,
they all look up.
Just in time to see a flutter through the clouds.

At the same time, some press their face to the window
craning their necks to see something,
just below the clouds,
below sweaty trees
and glistening heat
where a people
love and work and eat and play.
They press their faces to the window
and never understand.
They don’t want to.

A people down below,
under the fluff,
look up for a second at the passing shadow.
And then they look at each other and the trees
and then back at each other,

already out of their brief reverie.