Flight to Houston

I like to think I’ve done this so many times that it’s nothing.
The girl across the aisle wears brown boots,
as does the man in front of her,
which shouldn’t matter to me
but I still think of an escalator
and the upward lift at a steady pace.
I used to work for a European man
who was seldom in the office
and who sent in his receipts
from when he drank wine on his flights
at the company’s expense.
The laces of the brown boots
are made of the same supple leather.
I glued the receipts to paper and filed them.
Two men in front of me order Budweisers.
They wear blue caps that say SAFETY ALWAYS.
Soon, one orders another. The stewardess says,
“Don’t be scared. If you are, just hold his hand.”

Koh Xin Tian lives in Singapore. Previously, she was the poetry editor of the Cheat River Review at West Virginia University.