Shelley sped off in a Jeep
beside her bikini-clad girlfriends,
and when a raccoon wobbled into the road,
the truck flipped over
like paper in a breeze.
Everyone was OK
freaked out and upside down but OK,
and Shelley, at the command of her screaming driver,
reached over and unbuckled the seatbelt
her friend couldn't reach. Unprepared
for the sudden drop, her track-star friend
would never again flash her meaty legs
to a cheering audience
a full-length mirror
or a doting husband.
Shelley began flight attendant school,
and for 22 years she flew beside people
back and forth across America,
calming them with a smile,
consoling them when they were scared,
feeding and serving, watching them sleep,
always buckling them in.
whenever the plane touches down
anywhere near Daytona,
Shelley rents a car, drives to a corner
where a tired and leafless bush still stands,
and imagines that a raccoon family still lives there.
She’ll sit in a parking lot on the corner,
enduring the heat, maybe flip on the A/C
and wait for her chance, if it ever comes,
to get out and help another family
safely across the street.