A Salt Lake City Air-Terminal Memory

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    grandma:
    unmodish, longish dress,
    a hairnet back straight,
    and rugged still,
    though rural life
    and the man she spent it with
    are long gone.
    while children go forth, she stands,
    white gloves clutching
    a modest black purse …
    older sister:
    the tired, haunted glance,
    two children and a man
    in arms, while she waits
    the day he will return
    safe, as this
    her brother leaves …
    the girl friend:
    eyes sparkling, clutching
    hands that promise more
    than should be promised,
    for two years
    can be longer
    than eternity …
    parents:
    trying to look
    proud, concealing,
    growing up, growing
    apart, growing old.
    time
    and a love that somehow,
    foolishly (they know),
    would tell them
    they must not cry …
    cameras, omniscient,
    omnipresent, and unfeeling
    man-made angels,
    recording all that is done
    on earth for heaven …
    “great-grandpa Bonner died
    crossing the plains
    by handcart so
    you might go
    by plane because he came.”
    and again the girl friend,
    everpresent, clinging,
    promising,
    giving without knowing
    a reason to be going …
    younger brother:
    admiration,
    the example he will
    be told to follow
    wonderingly, yet
    held by shared last hours,
    frantic grasps
    at youth ebbing freedom:
    one last wild ride on
    the hay rake across
    pasture stubble, the ritual
    firing, then clean and oil
    the gun,
    the promise of a first hunt
    to be shared; too young
    to know
    how little time there is
    or seems to be
    for little brothers
    for he who returns
    to hunt
    more beautiful bird …
    the best friend:
    he’ll never go, and
    knowing, as he stands,
    will ever stand apart …
    and
    Aunt Sophie,
    Mrs. Spurns,
    The dog
    left locked,
    barking, frantic,
    in the truck
    never to understand.
    pride,
    fear,
    expectation,
    giving only love
    to the missionary as he leaves.

    [photo] Photo by Don Thorpe