Seat Profile

By Ken Haas

First and foremost, I need a middle seat.


At the window I want a tubby oil man

who was late and had to sprint to the tarmac

in the summer

in Houston.

He’s going to fight me for the armrest,

down Johnnie Walkers two at a clip

and have to hit the head every fifteen minutes,

sheer beige shortsleeve wide open at the third button

so he can scratch his armpit throughout the flight,

whenever he’s not clipping his fingernails.


On the aisle I’d like an unemployed actress

who’s sipping a quart of goat milk for her special diet.

She’s got to tell me

how nervous she is about flying

and why the judge won’t let her see her kids,

as Leroy, the pet ferret, circles his cage,

shrieking and peeing on her bare feet.


In the row behind, ten-year-old twins

with iPods turned up so the bass

is synchronized with my pulse,

and I want them kicking the back of my seat.

In front, a middle-aged Russian couple

fully reclined and tongue kissing.


So I know I’ll be safe.

No one can die like this.



Ken Haas was born in New York City, and received an MA in English literature at the University of Sussex, U.K., where he wrote his thesis on Wallace Stevens and the “poetry of place.” He now lives in San Francisco where he sponsors a weekly poetry writing program at UCSF Children’s Hospital. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Caesura, CHEST Journal, Hawai’I Pacific Review, Natural Bridge, Red Wheelbarrow, Squaw Valley Review, and Tattoo Highway. His poetry has been anthologized in The Place That Inhabits Us (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2010) and the Marin Poetry Center Anthology (2012).

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