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(With apologies to Robert Frost)

Once, when the season dawned for flights and fares,
We stopped upon the tarmac, engines quiet.
A brief announcement—“Folks . . . ”– drew sighs and glares
Ungrateful, human, hand-biting for the sole
Occupants of the vessel who could fly it,
And the watchers in their tower. They had their role,
And ours was to fidget, and cough, and check our phones,
A thousand miles away from where we’d woken
That morning, and a thousand yet away
From where we’d land. Sore throats and aching bones,
Tongues in various unlikely tones,
The whole array of travelers’ pains. Unspoken,
I pass an Advil left. “Bless you,” they say.
An unexpected answer. I’d go “Thanks,”
Or something noncommittal from the ranks
Of impersonality and autosuggestion:
Did you mean – “Much obliged!” “Have you got a Halls?”
Is this Atlanta? The landscape leaves the question
A koan: Which airport has ugly planters and grey walls
And makes you forget you’ve ever seen a park?
No answer. The Tower, tarot-like, is dark.