Or So You’ve Been Told

You cross your fingers
and tell yourself that
if you are lucky
you will not be asked 
to open your bags
for inspection. You tote
too much of the forbidden
to be comfortable with that
if it happens. You fear
you’ll betray yourself
with your sweat
and be turned aside
for further investigation, or
be turned away completely,
ruining your last chance to 
get good and get gone. 

Or perhaps you’ll then be taken
to a stage, stripped, and told
to perform rationalizations
and apologies for an audience
who will say nothing as they stare
at the mess you’ve become,
all illnesses and stresses 
having broken through your skin
to manifest upon the body itself.
Once done, you’ll be redressed
and set back on the street
with your offending baggage.

You could tell yourself
you could try again to get by
but the line’s so much longer
than it was when you first arrived
here at this — station? terminal?
You can’t even say. You just came
because it felt like the way out;
after all, that’s what you’d been told
and the ones who told you seemed like
they had it on good authority.

The bags will seem
suspiciously lighter. 
You will open them
and rummage around
but you won’t figure out
what’s missing.

All this and you haven’t even 
packed yet. You’re waiting 
for a sign that it’s time.
You’re crossing your fingers
and swearing an oath
to take as little as you can
and still have enough
for the destination’s demands,
though you can’t know
what those will be until
you get there. What if
there’s nothing there at all?
What if it’s all provided
upon arrival, one of those
all-inclusive deals? 

Your hands are so cramped
you can’t even think straight
right now. You can’t uncross
anything about yourself 
after a lifetime of this.
You can’t just give it up,
get going, get gone. Not now,
not like this, or so
you’ve been told.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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