A Salt Lake City Air-Terminal Memory

by Gordon C. Thomasson

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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 by Don Thorpe