The Long Embrace



Expectant faces lift to a screen
Announcing departures, arrivals,
The collective gaze
Of the lost and found.

Hats worn with hometown identity,
Cities been, teams set,
The blurry-eyed clustered clans
Of fast walkers in purgatory,
Gripping coats in tank tops
Shedding layers, peeling through gates.

Babies slung on hips.
Old men shuffle next to
Old women with bulging bags,
Stuffed with mints, maps, memories,
In various stages of flight.
Faces stretch in anticipation
Stoic determination,
Shaking miniature bottles
Of shampoo and soaps
As they run, run, run.

And in the middle
A simmering blaze of
White knuckled love brews,
The stuttering breath of
Slippery whispers,
Hands tangling in hair
Soaking in the seconds,
Clinging to an hourglass,
A longing to hold the ethereal,
Begging for permanence,
A devil’s deal with time.

Their shoulders round like stuck hangers
In a closet of swaying wires.
He runs his lips along her neck
Sliding words into a sigh,
In the cool alignment,
Ignoring the bile of distance
Filling their lungs:
don’t go
don’t go
don’t go

No notice of the surrounding commotion
Or this perennial witness,
But I have been there before,
Seen the miles 30,000 feet up
Rip me in half.
Watched the tiles farmed in neat
Green and brown squares
of sun-drenched crops
Stretching into a blur of rolled wheat,
The effort taken to thread
Coasts in golden hay,
To pull and gather land,
Tugging at the seams,
Erasing the Midwest,
The valleys and rivers,
The tiresome space of doubt,
The acres of displacement.

But now I wonder if they are
Departing or arriving
Knowing, sometimes,
There is no difference.
One is always behind the other,
As they stay
In a marinated moment,
Hearing the murmur of words
Spoken a million times before
But never the same:

don’t go
don’t go
don’t go

And I feel a thread loosen
In my own sewn heart.
A reflexive and perpetual pull.
A memory of the space
That used to be between us.


11 thoughts on “The Long Embrace

  1. Debbie

    Beautiful, DD!! Perhaps that’s the draw of places like airports and train stations, at least for a writer. They’re filled with human emotion and drama! And you’ve captured all that expectancy, angst, and liveliness in a lovely holiday poem — thank you!

    1. desertdweller29

      Thank you, Debbie! Lots of holiday travel… Funny, I never saw the couple’s faces. They were buried into one another and didn’t come up for air. I would have missed my flight had I waited… Happy New Year to you!

  2. Don Royster

    I love how you have gone from the epic to the personal, from the 3rd person to the 1st person. This is an embracing poem, revealing just how mobile our world is. Such an achievement. As you know, I am an admirer. Don’t you ever say you are not a writer, my friend. You are such a creator. You do what all creator do. You make something out of nothing. And you do it with such grace. You keep at it, you hear. Continue to do the amazing.

  3. ramonawray

    Lovely and powerful. Interesting juxtaposition of images to highlight the contrast between them. This one feels more anchored into the mundane world, and yet I thought your previous one struck a more personal note… Quite unexpected. You never fail to surprise, D.

    1. desertdweller29

      Thanks so much, Ramona. There’s such an imbalance of time in airports. It’s always interesting how people try to manage something that feels concrete but in reality is quite abstract. People are either killing time, rushing time, or holding on to seconds with their breaths held. Thanks so much for all your comments this year. I always look forward to your perspective. Much love, luck and well wishes into the new year. Hoping you have good news soon.

  4. FictionFan

    Beautiful, DD! I spent a lot of time in airports and stations at one point, both travelling and having visitors arrive and depart. You’ve caught those feelings wonderfully!

    Have a great New Year!

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