GATE C-18, SLX

20160606_123119

Thanksgiving Point Ashton Gardens by Roger Baker

Sitting in the airport half a day to catch a one-hour flight to visit my sister in Arizona, I took opportunity to watch the people around me, sitting, walking, milling, guarding their things–and to wonder about their lives. Such diversity, and such beauty in that diversity! People appear so different from one another, and are in fact different in many ways, but yet are fundamentally the same, each dreaming, each wanting love, each working to make their life good, each going somewhere. This poem sketches some of my observations of people during those hours in the Salt Lake International airport.

GATE C-18, SLX

Flight attendant,
a former stewardess,
bounces by in high heels,
face drawn tight,
weary of being stared at,
undressed.

Grandma texts busily
with one finger,
novel in her lap.
Her man yawns
to his magazine.

A mop of gray hair
on this squinting,
tongue-chewing man
intent
on his Apple laptop.

Four young women
gab, quite happily,
but not so loud
that I can hear
what they say,
legs criss-crossed
with charging chords.

Newspapers
still exist.

“I’m proud
to be an American”
ring tone.

Veteran ball cap,
gray beard, fingers
home-made whole-grain
cookies
in a Ziploc bag,
picks at his teeth
with his pinky.

Beneath her sleeveless
tie-dye house dress,
colored swirling tattoos
run up her arms,
across her breasts.

Clip-clop running
in boot heels.
Late!
Late!

Ear rings, nose rings,
gauges, bars;
dress shoes, pumps,
cowboy boots;
argyles, nylons, bare feet.

Breasts,
pushed up
past her collar bones.

Most stare
contentedly at nothing.

One man writes
a poem,
sipping
at his Coke,
munching
from his bag of extra
fancy roasted mixed nuts
from Costco.

Little girl dressed
in pink
plays games
on a plugged-in
pink laptop.

Pilot father flies
his giggling boy,
soaring, diving,
banking
to delighted sputtering.

Thunderstorm.
Lightning.
Heavy bouncing hail.
Wind.
Now snow and ice.
Our airplane diverted
to Boise.

Announcements,
with attempts at humor.
Polite laughter.
The tension grows.

I watch
the mop’s bags
while he wanders
off to pee.
Then he watches
mine.

We board . . . at last.

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