Clouds like ice broken on the surface of a lake,
Shifting forms of Pangaea that gravitate towards the sun,
Light rising bright impenetrable and distant.
I wait with ease in the terminal in a plastic seat.
But in memory and in future and in other hearts
Is a tension—to get where you are needing to go.
When the crackling voice overhead imitates
The divine oratory and announces with finality,
“Flight 4552 to Dallas has been cancelled.”
You shift the baby from one hip to the other,
Her pedal-knob feet dig into your soft places,
And her hands pull at your hair as she pets you.
She coos, but you swat her hands away,
Struggling to focus on the attendant,
Who holds the next dozen hours in her hand.
“I must get home,” you try to explain—
Calmly—not so calmly—sounding so trite,
So unoriginal in your demands to be heard.
Behind you stacks the train of angry passengers
Unpassaged, like Jenga blocks that no one
Wants to fall but will.
You cannot break. You cannot lose your temper.
You wipe sticky jam from your cheek,
Clutch the ping-pong sized fist in yours,
And alternate between, shhhh, shhhh, shhhh,
And “You don’t understand,” shhhh, shhhh,
Shhhh. “I simply must get home.”
—Jessica Hooten Wilson