Waiting at the Airport

I brace for our next goodbye
even before his LAX flight arrives.
It’s the Irish in me,
I tell him. We practice our sorrow
early. These are things
I shouldn’t tally, but I do.
Our ninth goodbye is five days
from today. His work is in California,
Montana is my home. Roll with life
he says, but I tell him I handle things better
when I practice in my head.

In the corner by the baggage claims
seven punk teenagers blow up balloons.
Shaped like dicks. They giggle when they
let the air out limply.
One boy is in a wheelchair, grinning.
Another takes a metal cap,
sets it on the wheel. Pulls out a knife.
Snorts white stuff from the blade. I can’t think
what to do. Iíve learned to say hello-
goodbye, but this, I’m not prepared for.

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