The Obnoxious AMERICAN Tourists
happily standing in line
for the Charter Flight to Mexico
were all in bathing suits,
wide-brim hats,
and flip-flops.

They already smelled of sunscreen.

THEY were laughing,
celebrating the good times
that they were about to have
on their upcoming vacation.

The juxtaposition
between THEM
and the unknowing future
of the world
made my stomach hurt.

I was aware
that my child
was one of the first to fly.

It was the first day
that airports were re-opened,
and flights were resumed
for security reasons
after the unexpected attack
on the World Trade Center.

The airport was hollow and guarded.
I felt uneasy just being there.

Only two gates were open
for outgoing flights.

A Sturdy Steel Stanchion
divided The Tourists

and a Sea of innocent
Young Men and Women
who had already been recruited
to go fight for their country.

Their stylish hair had not yet been cut off,
and they approached the gate
with their camouflaged duffle bags,
stone-faced and serious.

I wished I had had my camera.
THAT photograph would have won
The Pulitzer Prize.

Oblivious Colorful Tourists
on the left side,
flighting FROM their country.

Terrified Young Men and Women
on the right side,
fighting FOR their country.

Mary Grace was
somewhere in between.
She was leaving America
to create a new life,
to escape the darkness
that she knew,
and to follow the light
that she saw.

Hers was a one way ticket.

She looked back at me
as she departed,
knowing that I knew
that she knew
that she had to leave,
and knowing that she knew
that I knew
that she had to leave.

Have you ever had the feeling
that you were doing something
that you needed to do
but didn’t know why
you needed to do it?

that you were being lifted
into another realm
and you just let go
and went with it
even though
you couldn’t explain why?

I felt that in watching her leave.

She felt that in leaving.

The future soldiers
surely felt that..

It was a pivotal day
for my child.
It was a pivotal day
as a parent.
It was a pivotal day
for the world.

I was strangely calm
because I knew
that we were all
like chess pieces
being put into position
to move forward
with all of our lives.

The only thing constant in life is change.

Don’t fight it.
It’ll only tighten up.