Airport Security. Gloved hands slide
toward my groin. I step aside
at a thick-necked officer’s command.
My Converse kicks call out my name
in red suede concern.
I do what I can to comply,
but I make no apologies
for my olive-skin;
my peasant hands, gnarled and callused,
like those of my grandparents and uncles
when they raised the GW, the Whitestone,
the Verrazano, and the Triborough:
the bridges of their hopes, dreams,
loves and other assorted disasters.
The officer continues:
he pats my legs again,
glaring the denim off of my jeans;
the numbers off of my football jersey.
A grope here, a shove there,
a monotone sentence of thanks
for my cooperation.
And as I bite my tongue,
I spot a nub on his right hand,
where his index finger should be.
Maybe the officer’s disposition is a matter
of being proactive;
of pushing away the pain
of what’s been lost.
Perhaps his sadness takes cover
in gloves of pale-blue regulations
as a way of protecting himself
from the windblown grains
of memory’s dunes;
a way of keeping safe
from the friendly fire of everyday life;
of moving on
from the thick skin of combat
forged halfway around the world.
So I nod, grab my carry-on,
then step into my kicks,
and I feel a quiet pouring like cream
into a cup of coffee
behind the Starbuck’s counter
up ahead of me, like the day itself,
I look out a window:
tall, distant trees sway.
A plane waits on the runway.