Flight Status

Flight Status July 16, 2012

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I travel fairly often and find myself reflecting on different aspects of life against the backdrop of airports, taxis, and baggage carousels. This poem came while traveling to Chicago. I wrote it for a friend who was in the middle of a life crisis. It speaks to the paradox of our travel over a lifetime: working to establish ourselves and our identity when, over time, life wears us down to only what matters.


We pack, we go, we shimmy

through a few tight places,

tell a few stories, and land.

We unpack. Each time

we pack a little less.


We cover ourselves

in brief histories, another

kind of baggage, and shimmy

through circumstances that

make us drop things

along the way.


We lose our story.

We find another.

We change our name.

We pack even less.


And so, on this day,

when you have lost your way,

I want to congratulate you

and give you something

of mine, before I lose it

or it’s broken in the dark.


A small something you can

hold onto as you are worn

to who you were born to be.


Our names change.

Our histories fall away.

Our stories tell themselves.


What’s left is what matters.

It’s where this has been going.


A Question to Walk With: Describe some baggage you are carrying that once seemed important, which is now weighing you down. Tell its history to a friend and decide whether it’s worth keeping with you.

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