200 Words About Airports

by Emryse Geye

I.
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.

II.
My parents call from 
twelve-and-a-half 
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 
somewhere. 
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

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

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