Wild Goose Poetry Review, No 33, Fall 2017
Distress shrieked from that boy
in his native dress who stood
stock still in the narrow aisle,
tears streaming like a hard rain
on the streaked window
of his small terrified brown face.
On and on his wailing held fast,
his angst growing more rigid,
his dark face smeared with anxiety.
He had no language to explain,
no language even to connect,
or from which to accept comfort.
She hesitated, the quiet woman
who would suffer long in silence
before complaining, who found
her own comfort in anonymity,
even invisibility, if it were possible.
It had always been her nature.
But she understood that boy,
heard his special need in the howling,
reached for his hot trembling hand
in her cool gentle one, drew him to her,
felt his distress release in her arms,
sat with him right on the floor for hours
drawing on the paper bags provided
for distressed stomachs on long flights.
Crooning, speaking in tones of comfort,
she melted his fears, coaxed a smile
from his upturned face, heard the rich
peal of his laughter, her own heart hum.