Sharon Suzuki-Martinez

Duct Tape

You bring a roll of duct tape on your next flight.
Just in case a passenger randomly goes berserk
and needs restraint. As you wait for takeoff, you
fondly remember how duct tape was originally
called “duck tape” in 1899, not to repair broken
ducks, but because it was made of cotton duck,
a kind of versatile canvas.

Smiling at the duct tape in your canvas backpack,
you reminisce about the good old days when duct
tape was known as “the handyman’s secret weapon,”
cherished for its ability to fix anything: boats, bridges,

You had avoided airplanes since the pandemic began.
The flight crew lollygags near the cockpit. Their masks
sag below their greasy snouts. They look ready for
happy hour. The passengers stink. Next to you, Moby
is about to blow up at the small fry kicking his seat.
Santa Claus records them with his phone. You grip
the duct tape in your talons. Soon, you will go viral.

Sharon Suzuki-Martinez won the Washington Prize for her latest book, The Loneliest Whale Blues (The Word Works, 2022), and the MVP Prize for her first book, The Way of All Flux (New Rivers Press, 2012). Her micro-chapbook is A Glimpse of Birds over O’odham Land (Rinky Dink Press, 2021). (