April 1: Poetry a Day Challenge: Living in an Airport

Arrivals and departures
the same black screens
cities scrolling by in steady waves
Houston, San Francisco
Johannesburg, Atlanta
San Juan, Honolulu. . .
Which leg am I on?
How many tickets are stapled together?
Which airport am I at?
I check in on my Foursquare
The local time is 6:26 am,
this morning I’m in Newark
leg three of four

Each airport looks like another
Starbucks, Hudson News, Best Buy, Wolfgang Puck’s
I file through TSA
laptop in a bin
shoes on the belt
jacket stuffed in my bag
passport out -
but I’m always in the slowest line
behind babies and foreigners
hiding six-packs of water in their
carry on bags
the story of my life,
learning patience from the airport queue
some things cannot be controlled

arrivals and departures
solitary journeys
anonymity of the gate
aisle seats near the bathroom
a preference for silent seat mates
and redeye flights

my life made up of arrivals and departures
the safety of being strapped in a seat
stuck in a metal bird with nowhere to go
and finally a chance to quiet my brain
catch up with my sleep
and dream only of

arrivals and departures.

--Cathy Kanoelani Ikeda


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