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January 27, 2010 / Wendy Joan

Reprint

Last week, I posted a poem I wrote in the Atlanta airport on my way to Dallas. Flying home on Sunday, I passed through the international terminal again and took my own photos.

From Gate E18, Hartfield Jackson International Airport

I once knew

a man who

was almost as famous

for a poem about airports

as he was for his chalkboard

drawings, thick plastic

glasses, zafu and stories

of Julius Caesar.

I think of him

and Dublin

and Dubai as I search

for “Dallas- Fort Worth”

on the overhead monitor,

and sigh loud enough

for the capped captain

to pause and say

“excuse me, m’aam.”

I am already homesick

and sick at the thought

of going home.

Here, in the in-between,

I am invisible,

even though my cowboy boots

are scuffing and clicking against

the polished faux marble

floor and the glassy-eyed

taxidermied animals

from the continent of Africa

are glaring out from behind

a pane of glass.

I am almost tripped over

as I stop

to look at a diptych

by a seventh grader,

a Michael Lee, framed

on the construction wall

next to a sign that reads

“Pardon Our Appearance.”

Walking past the Alitalia

and KLM counters I see

a young man hunched

over his Mac Book Pro

and mistake him for someone I once knew.

I am only here

for less than an hour.

It is almost criminal

for someone who is so lost

to find her departure gate so easily.

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