1.  Departure

So afraid of good-bye, we hover around hello,
let logic’s whitewashed semantics trick
our tongues into insisting they have no names.

Funny how airports always translate
the subtext of yearning whether
I want to understand or not.

I toss afterthought emotion out car window.
When the marionette strings in my chest tug
taut, snared in the machinery carrying you away,

I realize exactly what I was asking for
when I told you to bring me back a present.

2.  Arrival

Maybe you didn’t feel the soft weight of it
when I tucked my heart in your pocket
on your way into the terminal.

So it slipped through your fingers unseen
when you sifted for subway change,
or got slammed in the rush of taxicab door,

or snagged in the branches of a tree
growing in Brooklyn. It happens sometimes
when traveling away from home’s arms.

You return empty-handed and exhausted, my tender
trinket now dust, trapped in the lining of your coat.

Karrie Waarala is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Orange Room Review, Short, Fast, and Deadly, Bestiary, two national poetry slam anthologies, and on a coffee shop floor in Arizona. Karrie is currently working on a one-woman show of poems about the circus sideshow and really wishes she could tame tigers and swallow swords.

"Airport Elegy" started as two separate poems, written several days apart. It wasn't until I picked them back up to rework them almost a year later that I saw that I had a single poem on my hands, that either one was only half the story. Sometimes it takes the impending loss of something to see just how much it means to you -- and then time and perspective to see that it was okay to lose it after all.



Copyright 2009