My father sits in the Midway airport
waiting for a friend to cross
the arrivals bridge. A small man
in a crowd in an airport, sitting on a bench
in a row of small men waiting.
The bridge is flanked by long black escalators
carrying overcoated people to the ticket line,
dark square bags in hand. My father’s
eyes close and open. He sees goodbyes
and tearful ones,
he and his long routine of waiting:
flight boards’ ticking scroll,
strangers whose mouths spill
with languages he doesn’t know.
He is heavy with moving,
with being given to the wind,
who gives him to city
after unimaginable city. Heavy with rain,
with rush and still, and with delay.
He sits now and others move around him.
And for each he wishes something
they could keep. For one he wishes
a lover, for one a sturdy chair,
for this one a weighted candle, and this one
a way to keep the ocean back.
My father reads the people reading,
waits, not breathing, with one woman
until she sees a small girl running—
net of energetic mumbles—to her gloved hands.
He shakes sleep from his foot.
Later he will tell me
he would have waited longer.
He will say Daughter, in that hour
the sun was shining on the Midway airport.
In different states, phones pressed
to our ears, we think about the brief strength
of worlds connecting, bodies sitting—
one in an armchair, one at a kitchen table,
another and another carried through the sky
to somewhere else—all moving, no one lost.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 2.