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Third place

"La Guardia has been too large too long" 

Third place

Like a plane rising to an occasion,
the wealthy tourists tell me how it feels
to be going home. Our black suitcases
have handles that collapse and broken wheels.

Manhattan is for children, darkening
like promises forgotten. The sun slips
into the Lincoln Tunnel. An arriving flight
drives the skyline towers into eclipse.

From a stainless steel box on the wall,
a gleaming cord extends to a black
object like a club, phallic, the business end.
Nearby, the news has tumbled in a stack.

Who knows what is helpful? A book bag
bears a little-girl pink icon. I cannot say.
The seats are comfortable and traveling
absorbs the mind. Salad and Beaujolais,
computers, neon arrows, all distractions.
I wish I had more love or had heard
some meaningful announcement. Few passengers
look happy. All day I haven't said a word.

Some travelers love their children like a river.
Some travelers are crazy. Some succumb,
the little girl chattering, the phone expiring,
to TV, where a quarterback plays dumb.

I am frightened of going home. The voices say
There's nothing left. You have not done enough.
The world's bazaar is bankrupt. Through the day
you dwell on earth. To fly is rough.

La Guardia has been too large too long.
A man in luminous earflaps coaxes my late
Seven Twenty-Seven into berth.
Every flight is numbered, every fate.

  • Third place

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