At the security checkpoint,
I am told to remove my shoes.
My flowing pants and bare feet
make me feel like a hippie,
strangely liberated as I march through
the checkpoint, signaled by a guard.
I take a train to Concourse C.
Stark brick walls whizz by,
blue lights blaze, theme park music plays.
I am suddenly seven again, rigid
in my seat, terrified by the rushing
darkness and exhilaration of Space Mountain.
“It’s Denver Disney,” the Jamaican beside me
grins, flashing a set of crooked white teeth
that glow in the dark smoothness of his face.
I wait for hours that roll incessantly on
like baggage on a conveyor belt carousel--
but not my bags, circling somewhere
in the black hole of Washington-Dulles.
The artificial glow of fluorescent lights
illumines the ripped pleather ranks
of stiff-armed, metal-legged chair clones
and fake marble garbage cans.
A baby cries, someone chatters in Spanish,
a final boarding call. Then the muted roar
of engines and the pressure of rising thousands
and thousands of feet into the air, surpassing
human capability, flying with stars and birds.
The land below divides into squares and lines,
orderly tiles of green and white that
shrink as they spiral away. The metal nose
climbs higher, then evens out. I place
my head on the hospital-white pillow and
consciousness drifts away with the clouds.