Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Baby Got Wings

by Larry Duncan

I’ve never been happier to see you go.
Your suitcase packed with mammy dolls
chickens for sacrifice and all the words
you never say out loud
typed out on clean, white paper.

I know it wasn’t easy.
We slept late,
had to hustle,
and you got lost
on the way to the airport.
The directions didn’t lead where they said they would.
There were black dogs outside the terminal.
A man in uniform took your boarding pass
and passport and I bet for a moment
you thought he was never coming back,
that you’d be stuck
on the curb with your bags,
with the taxis pulling up and away,
the traffic circling,
with all the embraces and the release,
stuck for the rest of your life
between the coming and going
until the time ran out.

But you made it baby
through security
and the long lines
and the bag check
to the airport bar
for few drinks to settle your nerves
before walking the long hall
to the fuselage.

And I can see you now,
nervous as always on the liftoff,
reaching for my hand
And finding the hard plastic armrest
and its useless ashtray,
thinking of contingency plans,
of the distance between your seat
and the emergency exit,
of mechanical error
and the lengths you'd go
and what it's worth
and where you’d land
in the finality of fire and twisted metal
as you lift
up and out
of California.

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