A Salt Lake City Air-Terminal Memory


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