Poetry: Stuck Between a Desk and a Sky by Trista Hurley-Waxali



Posters of discounted flights adorn her office.
Low prices for hikes in Peru on one wall,
an advertised fixed deal for a 10-day trip to the Great Wall on the other.


She hides her fear behind a couple photos on her desk,
posing in the ocean to avoid giving away the nearby location,
answering clients “they’re from a remote island with a name that always slips my memory.”


Families inquire about foreign insurance, she provides names she’s never used,
but comforts with story-telling reminders,
“If an emergency happens, they will help, like they did with me in Greece.”


She sweats when they ask what airline she prefers, anxiously responding,
“Don’t they treat all customers the same at that altitude?”a brief silence
and then a flood of laughter, relieved about maintaining some honesty.


When she thinks of being that high in the sky, clouds underneath, and dicey levels
of communication, she physically shutters in her chair, clients watch for
a moment, “Oh that darn AC unit, always keeping me cold.”


Some might think the white lie ought to be disclosed, after all, she sells
flight packages for a living. But the dance of avoiding handshakes and
drying her sweaty palms while smoothing down her skirt, is really
what will help.


For each time clients come back with photos near the Eiffel tower,
or playfully pretending to tip a Stonehenge, her face lights up to the thought
that maybe one day she will board,
the next flight.


Trista Hurley-Waxali grew up a wild child in a small Canadian town, before heading to the University of Windsor and receiving a BA in Criminology and Sociology. Trista’s writing has been influenced by some of her favorite authors: Charles Yu, Cormac McCarthy and Eloise Klein Healy. She has performed at Avenue 50 Studios, Beyond Baroque and Moonday. Trista is currently working on a short chapbook and on her first novel, The Crawls of Life. She lives in West Hollywood, California, with her loving husband, and lap cat Blue.



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