Sunday, September 11, 2016

Excess Baggage

“You’re a really nervous flyer!”
You exclaim.
Barely concealing amusement,
as you watch me
fiddle with my passport,
stare at my visa,
check my watch,
walk in circles,
practice my answers –
name, address, university.

“No way!” I say.
 Immediately defensive.
But then,
I realise
You’re watching,
But you’re not really seeing.

You’re not seeing
My navy passport
That puts me in a different line,
The guard that sits up sharper
As I walk towards him,
The mothers that reach for their children
As I roll past with a suitcase,
The extra time I schedule
For a “random search” and safety scan
Or for questions at Border Control.

You’re not seeing
The effort it takes to pronounce
All my vowels
And keep a smile on my face,
Pretending not to notice,
The girl across the aisle
Who wants a new seat,
Because I make her nervous.