Claudia Buckholts: “At the Airport”


Waiting for a plane to descend from the sky,
I long to be lifted, carried forward to a
different world, but I’m always dragged
backward toward what I abandoned.

Signboards tantalize me with destinations,
spell out complicated plots via numbers
and gates. A boy pulls his mother’s hand,
clamoring, but she says no as air resists

the lift of the wings. A covey of mechanics
carries tool bags, redacts planes, their
vocation uplift. Passengers trudge across
polished linoleum, stuffed into bodies

like cargo; an escalator rumbles protest.
The baggage carousel clangs, from suitcases
spill a broken toothbrush, a polka dot tie, a
book with an imaginary horse on its torn cover.

I watch the capacious dance spin around me,
airport workers and passengers circle blank
spaces, revolve from gate to gate. Above the
tarmac looms the emptiness of the sky.

Claudia Buckholts will have a third book of poetry, Travelers on Earth, released in 2023 by Main Street Rag Publishing Company. She has received Creative Writing Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Massachusetts Artists Foundation, as well as the Grolier Prize. Her poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Minnesota Review, New American Writing, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere.

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