In the time before jets,
when the last shuttle left
La Guardia at eleven,
I flew home to Logan

on a virtually empty DC-7
and one of the seven other passengers
I recognized as Al Capp.
Later, at a party,

one of those Cambridge parties
where is anti-Ho politics
were wrong, so wrong
the left eventually broke his heart,

I recalled the flight to him,
but did not recount how sleepy
he looked to me, how tired,
with his peg-legged limp

and rich man’s blue suit
and Li’l Abner shock of hair.
He laughed and said to me,
“And if the plane had crashed,

can’t you see the headline? —
ONLY EIGHT KILLED.
ONLY EIGHT KILLED: everyone
would be so relieved!”

Now Al is dead, dead,
and the shuttle is always crowded.