The five o’clock plane to Charlotte is
one long sleek airbus suctioned to its chilly entranceway.
Men load suitcases on a moving ramp.
People sit in silence, sipping coffee, reading newspapers,
or hunched over laptops.
Everyone here is on a business trip.
No hugs, no quick excited honeymoon kisses.
Faces are as blank as brand new spreadsheets.
But your face is like the scattered posters of holiday places.
I won’t see you again they say
until it’s summer out, the waves are rolling up the sand,
and a pretty young girl is bouncing a beach-ball.
The woman at the airline counter
is boarding the first class passengers,
the families with small children.
We economy-class riffraff
absent-mindedly fondle our boarding passes.
It’s time for mutual subjugation.
Soon we’re airborne
and your face is like the clouds puffy white
outside the window.
Or it’s the forest below.
Or the checkerboard farmland.
Whatever I can’t reach out and touch
has your eyes, your nose, your mouth.
And soon enough we’ll land in a place
where nothing is you.
At Charlotte, we’re greeted by strangers
holding up signs with names of arrivals.
None of them say, “It’s me. I love you.”
At best, a car awaits to take me to the office
At worst, it’ll get me there.
© by John Gray.
Used with the author’s permission.