The Better Way to Go

The Better Way to Go June 6, 2011

One at a time, they come off the plane:

looking for someone, arriving alone,

returning, beginning. They get off.

I wait to get on. Suddenly, it’s not

just the 11:35 to Chicago. But the

immigrants leaving Europe. Or the

thousands filing in and out to see the

lost Buddhas of Cambodia. Or the box-

cars with no exit. They get off. I wait to

get on. It doesn’t matter where we’re going.

I want to stop the old man shuffling. He

seems to carry a secret. It weighs him

down. It makes him search the floor

for the crack to the underworld he

was told would be here. We are

coming and going. Born. Dying.

In and out of life. Only no one

knows whether getting on or getting

off is the better way to go. The old man

pushes through the revolving door. He’s

looking for his baggage. Here’s another

with a limp in her heart. It makes me

want to stand and simply hum the

one true thing I know, hum it till

it starts to ring. And what if I could

sing it till it undresses all our cries?

Would anyone recognize it, know

it as their own? Would some join

in? I’m asked to board. To get on

with it. She looks at my passport

to see if it’s me. As if to say, Are

you you? I think she understands.

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