Coming and Going

by Emily

Tony Hoagland

My marriage ended in an airport long ago.
I was not wise enough to cry while looking for my car,

walking through the underground garage;
jets were roaring overhead, and if I had been wise

I would have looked up at those heavy-bellied cylinders
and seen the wheelchairs and the frightened dogs inside;

the kidneys bedded in dry ice and Styrofoam containers.
I would have known that in synagogues and churches all over town

couples were gathering like flocks of geese
getting ready to take off, while here the jets were putting down

their gear, getting ready for the jolt, the giant tires
shrieking and scraping off two

long streaks of rubber molecules,
that might have been my wife and I, screaming in our fear.

It is a matter of amusement to me now,
me staggering around that underground garage,

trying to remember the color of my vehicle,
unable to recall that I had come by cab–

eventually gathering myself and going back inside,
quite matter-of-fact,

to get the luggage
I would be carrying for the rest of my life.

Everything in this poem is fleeting, moving, going away from where it currently resides. The details cement that sense beautifully. And the ending, “to get the luggage / I would be carrying for the rest of my life.” is so placid, still. The ending stops the movement.

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