Waiting for a Flight

Suzanne Roberts

Las Vegas, Nevada

The unaccompanied minors board first,
wait with tagged necks in front of a row
of slumping bodies in wheelchairs.
A young father walks to the front of the line
with his son. The attendant takes the ticket,
scans the tag around the boy’s neck.
The boy pauses at the door of the jet way.
He turns back to wave at his father, no longer
sees him, assumes he’s left, proceeds
to the plane. But the father has not left,
only moved to the windows to watch
the plane depart. He sees me watching him.
I do not look away, as he would like.
Goddamn it, he swallows hard, wipes an eye,
lowers his sunglasses. I board the plane
behind a woman wearing short black shorts
and plastic high heels. The father
still sits at the window, waiting
for the plane’s defiance of gravity.