John Grey

The Woman and Her Job Offer

You knew it. I knew it.
Distance between two people is always a risk.

You were the one weeping
in that airport lounge.

Mine was the battle-scarred brave-face.
You blew your nose jet-engine-loud.

I had my heart in my hand.
You held onto your two minds.

I was angry at your job offer.
You were sad at the way two cities,

not even Minneapolis and St Paul
can ever really be one city.

At least, you didn’t say it was God’s will.
The loneliness? The misery?

Everywhere we looked,
happy people were boarding airplanes together,

the dismal ones were saying their goodbyes.
And I was jealous. Jealous of another state.

Jealous of the miles. Jealous of the private office.
Even more jealous of its view.

Most of all, jealous of your salary,
how it far exceeded love.


Your Flight Has Been Delayed

A woman speaks solemnly over the airport PA.
I’m sure the excuse is a good one though her words are muffled.
Storms in Saudi Arabia maybe., or elections for the new Pope.
What it means is I’ll be here awhile.
You too, college kid, with boyfriend slumped across your shoulder.
And priest… smile… think of Flight 614 as the second coming.
I could tell you much about the molded-plastic seats of airports,
the blue sky murals and the silver jet piercing clouds between
the glossy ads for local hotels and rent-a-car establishments.
If it’s travel you want, I’m the living brochure.
The Grand Canyon in the flesh is one thing but you should
see how grand it is on unfolded paper.
Paris, famed for its cuisine sure, but I sip over-priced
coffee, nibble stale cheese danish, while watching overhead monitors
that span the world with late arrivals, even later departures.
I don’t even need to look through the picture windows,
see 737’s taking off and landing.
The blinking military time says it all.
A man in uniform with wings on his lapel strolls by,
a briefcase slapping against his knee.
He’s my captain thank you Whitman.
And two women, all in blue from shoes to peaked cap, follow.
The older one can be my mother, the younger, my wife.
Such a reward for my patience. Forget travel. An entire life.
Later, the word comes that the flight is cancelled.
They’re trying to fit each and every one of us on a later one.
Does that mean this life is cancelled also?
Orphan. Widower. And still that overhead monitor
tells me that nothing is on time.
Even time itself is late. Its excuse is airplanes.

© John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Stand, Washington Square Review, and Floyd County Moonshine. Latest books, Covert, Memory Outside The Head, and Guest Of Myself are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, and Open Ceilings.

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