Changing Planes
By John Nimmo

For Zofia.

Formica and orange vinyl, LAX Terminal B. I sit
with my Pizza Hut dinner and see the back
of a woman dressed loose in black,
arguing by the coke machine.
The man says Six feet tall, dark—
—you’ll get the part.
Her life after—Kent State, you know,
the photograph—the body—
woman kneels and screams.

Never heard of it…not born then…talk to my agent.

Sweating, the guy gesticulates, jabbers,
dashes to his plane. The peppers
on my Veggie Special are tasteless
but on United to Tucson I won’t even
get peanuts. The dark woman’s
at my elbow—asks me to watch her
coat for two seconds.

I stare at the blank wall ahead
and think how a friend once advised me
to keep up with culture
look at magazine covers in the checkout lane.

Then she the maybe-famous says thank you
and sits next to me, eating Burger King french fries,
sipping iceless coke.

Barbara Walters wrote a book
on how to talk to anyone.

My teeth are working pizza.
I’m fingering my napkin.
I ask about that guy.

No he’s not a producer he just wants to pick me up.

An actress? Yes and model…
Ralph Lauren…TV…Oil of Olay.

Her skin is smooth but her chin sticks out
and hair falls close to her cheeks. We chit-chat
about planes and travel, she slips french fries
between her lips and I wonder if she intends
to digest them. She breaks a pause: what are you?
So I tell her about radioactive waste nobody
wants in their drinking water in Idaho
buried shallow where voles might dig.
The model smiles at me.
She sees right off the problem of rain
draining down the holes, and her glasses
are clear with white-plastic rims.
She speaks, it’s noisy, I can’t tell if she says
rad waste or London or rodents—I bend close
and glance up at her
                                       face which I see
is the true original of full-color replicas
in slick magazines by the millions.
In the New York studio they do it
with the camera at the perfect angle
and distance which is
exactly where my eye is now
and I see how it all works
and the picture they take will make
everyone buy what no one needs.