LAX

 

 

Just here by a runway’s bosom
they’ve enclosed three sides without a roof
onto the edge of Gate 66.

This is where we smoke.
Gratefully.
Marginalized but recognized
(probably photographed)
here in California.

She buys coffee and we have an hour to wait.
We Japanese. We salesmen.
We college girls. We lovers leaving.
We bond owners. We lonesome brothers.
With lungs still breathing just about.

A man with the precisely shouted goal
of collecting $50 for the homeless today
comes by with a bucket.
Most avert themselves,
but I give him some small paper,
thinking it might be my last chance
or just some test of airplane Karma.
Something to regret;
a life lost for the want of a dollar.

I checked mail this morning,
thick fingers trembling over tiny keys,
and a friend has had twins.

They are a little more than four and five pounds a piece.
Less collectively than any of these bags we carry,
but more on a par with the real meaning of worldly goods.

As soon as we’re airborne, we’ll drink to that,
a couple of times for each of them,
in sanctioned habit

[1997]

 

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