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Distress Beacon



Night settles like black wire on the runway
Concealing the fuselage, the chromium hull
The long gash of wing-tips piercing the darkness.
Rain crashes and stings with urgency,
A warning to travelers, from the
Far reaches of the globe, broadcast from the city
No one remembers
Drowned by the squeal of carriages, electric walkways
Shined soles on plastic
At the end of the line, I present my visa.
In the dim glow of kiosks, lovers part
With dignified embraces,
Slow kisses, no tears, the comfort in knowing
That parting is temporary, reunion permanent.
The guard in the checked cap
Watches with boredom.
Alone at the gate, I feel the heavy curtain
Descend on cue. Beyond the glass, somewhere
Within the storm, the red beacon
Points the way for the glistening aircraft
Row upon row, like the toys we built as children,
Now grown titanic, ready to seek what awaits them
The city that exists
Only in dreams, like a half-remembered photograph.
I think of the man who holds the beacon, or the woman
Trapped in the icy downpour, forgotten and nearly invisible
For years on end, guiding us into the future
Without any thought
Of the service they are performing, how terribly grand
Or how noble.
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Submitted on October 15, 2013

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