Now When Flying

by Nicholas Samaras

We arrive two hours before departure, the dark
still dark and glassy. We line up, unlock our bags
and give them away. We check ourselves in.
There is no way to ask questions to the computer.
A live person leans at the end of a much longer line.
Security directs us to departure. We line up.
We unpack our laptops. We take off our shoes.
I find my fifth penknife still in my pocket
and turn it in to be destroyed—
wondering if it will find the previous four.
Security bellows to remove our outer clothing.
I am puffed for explosives residue.
I have felt barely anything all these pre-dawn hours.
We assemble in line and shuffle forward.
In the boarding area, beverages are sold,
drinks from my childhood, but nothing now
tastes as good as the past. At the boarding gate,
the LCD sign says, No Liquids Please.
The world has changed so much since I was
a boy, I can barely recognize it or myself.
We line up and shuffle forward. I think
of my small children still sleeping in their beds
at our darkened home, how I miss them already,
as I even miss the world. I gaze around to identify
the terrorist who looks around to identify me.
This is the circumstance, and we numbly
board the metal plane that takes us into
the world we inherit and the world we make.

Published on October 15, 2015