Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another poem, of course...

Oak airport dad n son

A Father and Son Asleep in the Oakland Airport

A little before midnight.
Even airports sleep.
A few seats behind me,
a man and his son lie sleeping
sprawled out on the floor like it was their own living room.

This father might be younger than me.
His raised sleeve reveals a tattoo on one arm.
His son can’t be more than 5.
They’ve made a make-shift bed
airport floor mattress, suitcase pillow.

He’s got his hat over his eyes
like someone out of a Steinbeck novel
an average Joe sleeping off the Great Depression.
The boy’s safely curled up by his side,
his head is resting on his dad’s shoulder.

Perhaps dad fell asleep first,
and with 5-year-old stealth,
the kid quietly and oh so carefully crept closer and closer
until he could lay down and fall asleep almost in his father’s embrace.

Or perhaps after work and school each day,
they fall asleep in front of the television next to each other.
Maybe there’s a woman somewhere with pictures
of the two of them
safely asleep like this.

I may be a stranger to them both
but now I have my own picture
of these two
safely sleeping in an airport.

Not one of my best, but I enjoyed the image. It was difficult as hell to get that picture without looking suspicious, for the record.


  1. Good poem, Liz. I enjoyed it. I loved the line, "Even airports sleep." It's quiet. You might even start with it. Nah, I like your first line.

    Cut the last stanza though, the one about you being a stranger. You're trying to wrap it up too much. The poem isn't about you, it's about them so keep it on them. Beautiful idea of the picture of them.

  2. Thanks James. I appreciate your advice. Full-ride to NYU on poetry and all that. I agree...I couldn't figure out what it needed, so I kinda cut a corner or two, and just put in that last stanza, even though I thought it was lame.