The Guardians - Poem by Alice Pero





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Published on Jun 26, 2008

(after 9/11/2001)

At the airport they make us take off our shoes and place them on the conveyor belt
because they are protecting us from people with bombs in their sneakers
We file in long lines, obedient children who don't know the rules, the new rituals
(Must the faxed itinerary be dated?
Will the skycap take my government issued identification card?)
The man in the camouflage uniform is our guardian
He has a large rifle and will blend in with the forest, as soon as it arrives
I have thrown my Swiss army knife in the trash
I know that I am safer because I have done so
I examine the faces of everyone I see for signs of secrets
The man at the check out counter has not told anyone
that he fell in love with a man
The large cranky woman at X ray has not told anyone
that she forgot to shave her legs
A Muslim family approaches the check in counter
They look worried
The women have large innocent eyes and their heads are covered

The airplane is like a mother
Once inside I am held within its pressurized cabin and carried through
impossible airless space
I cannot go here alone
I decide to tell the sky my secrets,
drinking coffee at bedtime, leaving the front door unlocked,
loving the wrong man, forgetting to recycle
Outside the cabin there are no explosions
My thoughts drift into huge absorbent gray clouds
Somewhere out there
a ritual of forgiveness

© 2008 Alice Pero All Rights Reserved.

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