Mr. Robinson at the Airport

Here is the man who takes his suitcases.
They are friends, friendly. They smile, exchanging
bags and tip and thank you. Here is the woman

who takes his ticket. She scans the screens before her,
knows the names of the people at whom he will smile
when he confuses their seatbelts with his,

who will apologize when they squeeze past him
to use the lavatory. She knows his numbers,
price and flight, time and gate and seat.

She tells him where to go. She knows that he
is going somewhere, and that makes him happy.
The woman from whom he buys The New York Times

and lemon poppy seed muffin and Starbucks coffee
has everything he wants. She takes his money
and gives him just the change that is his due.

Soon, at a time over which he has no control,
he will walk onto the plane and find the seat
that is meant for him, and smiling people

will bring him food to eat and icy beverages
to drink. Until then, he will sip his coffee
and do the crossword and watch as ponderous,

hopelessly burdened things lift and dissolve
into this blue and cloudless sky, this empty, empty sky.

:: Christopher Cunningham, in West Branch #60 (2007)

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