In the Airport

I. In All Likeliness


The overweight mid-forties man,

In the blue button up and beige cardigan,

Pacing between the arrivals board and baggage claim,

With a deluxe school backpack swinging from his hand,

Is waiting for his daughter

To arrive back home from college,

Or somewhere abroad.

Perhaps his backpack is full of all the things she forgot

And has been sent by an annoyed mother

To hand them off to her before she boards another plane

To another place.


The fifty-something couple—

The woman in Chanel with two purses,

And the man wheeling a single large suitcase—

Are going to visit their grandchildren.

The woman looks like the type of grandparent

To criticize the mother on her cooking

And chide her husband for slipping the kids money.

They leave through the glass quadruple-doors

And stand outside, heads bobbing back and forth for the shuttle.


The twenty-year-old sprawled on the sofa by baggage claim,

With his sneakers on the floor by his head,

And his head leaned back on the armrest to gaze up at his phone,

An open duffel bag on the floor by his feet,

And his suitcase behind his head,

Is on layover,

With nowhere to go and nothing to do.

He curls up after a moment,

Checks his phone,

And closes his eyes.


The thin early-twenties Asian man

With earbuds and hipster glasses,

A mismatched tall suitcase in each hand,

And a Jansport on his back,

Is visiting back home

Or maybe moving there for a job,

Or drifting through for a meeting.

He stands still in the crowd around the carousel,

Not quite looking for anyone,

Just watching.


II. In A Movie


The overweight dad

Would be anxiously pacing,

Holding grave news along with the backpack.

Maybe he waits for his daughter,

Who rushed home when she heard

That her mother was sick,

Or perhaps divorcing her father.

Maybe both.

He paces,

He waits.


The elderly couple

Had just returned from visiting their grandchildren,

And while waiting for the shuttle,

The husband thinks about

How he’s found his true soulmate.


The wife curses

“Till death do us part,”

And wishes it along, already.


The twenty-year-old guy

Is on a cross-country flight to see his girlfriend,

And his connecting flight was delayed.

He’s exhausted by jetlag,

And with this long of a layover,

He can’t stay awake texting her forever.

She doesn’t even know he’s coming—

It’s supposed to be a surprise for their anniversary.

He sends her “brb” and sets his alarm for twenty minutes.


The early-twenties man

Didn’t take a flight.

It’s easy to come in the main doors and go straight to baggage claim.

In his bags aren’t clothes,

Or books,

But instead

A lethal combination

Of gunpowder and time.

He waits, unsuspiciously,

Just a guy home for the holidays.

He waits for the flight to empty into the room,

Pushes down the handles on the suitcases,

And walks away.

The shuttle was here.



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