like a hospital waiting room, airport departure wings are full of
small talk and long silences and what sits underneath. I see
parents sitting on either side of me at the gate
philadelphia, back when you could do that kind of thing
i always protested
they always insisted.
now I follow my honey blonde college girl around
bradley international terminal, clinging to the
seconds before she succumbs to security,
asking questions that don’t matter with urgency
do you have something to read?
she raises her hand slightly to stop me, blinks affirmatively.
we’ve already said as much as could be said
considering. she is the age when I started to
know myself. I remember so well I think
she is me, when she lets me into her worries
I remember too well: we share the same nervous system,
I feel her burdens like they are my own
mostly I am relieved she trusts me again,
I am redeemed after the silent years, the secret
years, the scary years.
north gate now, I let her release me first from
our embrace, our parting words stumble out jaggedly
then I watch as she moves forward into the jaws
of the larger world, she doesn’t turn back
until the last second, knows I wait for this
final crumb–the one who leaves has all the power–
she raises her hand birdlike and smiles without teeth, but her eyes dance
when I play my part as the pursuing suitor waving with all of me,
I watch the hem of her trench coat follow her around the corner.
Altadena Poetry Review: Anthology 2017