200 Words About Airports

by Emryse Geye

I fall in love every time I fly.

Leaving Dallas: 
the medical student 
wearing headphones and 
a full headscarf just to forget her 
be-planed predicament.

Above Tucson: 
the sorority sister 
with the strawberry hair whose 
father is waiting 
at the baggage claim; they leave, 
arms over shoulders over arms.

In Denver. 
The woman in security: 
her bright eyes contradict
the softening skin on her hands
like Kleenex,
like my mother’s.

I desperately want 
to be travelling away from here 
with someone,
with one of these 
walkabout-women at my side 
on a midnight-plane to anywhere:
companionable silence, 
holding hands in anticipation.

My parents call from 
hours in the past 
to tell me that 
when they dropped me off 
for my flight to Seoul

on the way out—
they saw a woman
striding confidently through 
the winding Sea-Tac security, 
carrying what they were sure was 
her whole life on her back, Emryse. 
She was going off 
On her next adventure.

I like to imagine 
her lived-in day-pack,
her tried-and-tested shoes;
her threadbare smile.
I like to think she was happy

they told me they knew 
that would be me, 
one day, and
they told me she had been 

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