Friendly Skies

You are traveling without the baby
and you realize now
that the baby is a human shield.
When they see him with you,
they are disarmed, at ease.
They speak his language
and can only wonder about yours,
until, finally, you do speak.
It’s like the miracle of baby Jesus;
your English is evidence
of your mother’s virginity.

You are late, but better to miss the flight
than admit your apprehension.
Everyone is apprehending terrorists here.
Your own luggage incriminates you
when you step away from it to pee.
Do not leave your luggage unaccompanied;
it is needier than the baby.

Smile. A lot. At strangers, especially
as you make your way to your seat.
You are unlike other women.
Your smile will not be taken
as an advance. Your smile
is a public service announcement
that you hold no grudges
that you might wish to detonate
thirty thousand feet in the air.

Take your mom’s call,
but do not speak to her
in your mother tongue.
Your mother tongue is terrifying.

Your plane touches down
and there’s an inaudible sigh
of relief. Your fellow passengers
smile at you more easily now,
you regular person you.

Thank you for choosing American.

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