(.0001june15 07) Incident At Lambert Field Poem by Max Reif

(.0001june15 07) Incident At Lambert Field

Rating: 3.3

While waiting
for our bag at the airport,
I vaguely notice a man
wearing a tight, shell necklace,
walking back and forth.
something's a little odd about him,
I'm not quite sure what.

You know how it is
with such waiting. My gaze
surveys the crowd for anything
interesting, then moves
back to the carousel. A little later,

another tableau with this same man:
two women and an old, white-haired fellow,
presumably family members,
have met him. I hear the necklace guy say
he has to be back at 7: 50, and imagine
a scenario: they're going out for dinner
before he travels on.

I turn again to look for our bag,
but in a moment hear
behind me a terrible shriek.

Now the man with the necklace
holds a cell phone to his ear,
screaming 'My God! No, No! '
The others huddle around
and cradle him as he sobs.

As the carousel goes round
in this gray limbo of waiting
the hidden grief of the world
has suddenly come pouring,
twenty feet away.

Everyone's looking
and trying not to. I glance over
at a woman near me. We mirror
concerned expressions, shoulders and arms
raised in question. I want

to go over and embrace the screamer —
torn between that and wanting
a curtain for his privacy.

After he's keened a few minutes,
the ladies trundle him
into a wheelchair and move him
down the hall. The old man
is left standing there. I approach
and ask what happened:

'My son's son
got killed. It was a beach
accident, in Santa Cruz.
He'd just graduated
from high school.'

The grandpa looks off
into the distance, showing
no emotion. I try
to hug him, but succeed
only in patting a shoulder blade.

Then the ladies come back
with another wheelchair,
and I'm left alone,

feeling completely helpless. I notice
that other passenger again.
Our eyes meet. We
approach one another
and embrace.

Robert Howard 16 June 2007

What a shocker! Shatters our delusion of permanence.

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Alison Cassidy 16 June 2007

You tell it like it is Max and show the reader, in the process, the depth of your own compassion and humanity. This is my kind of poetry. love Allie xxxx

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Scarlett Treat 15 June 2007

Eye contact....missing in American society as we hurry past, eyes downcast, in fear that we will be attacked, or someone will ask something from us, or demand that we listen to them....and yet, the eyes being the windows of our souls, when we finally do make contact, true understanding comes along..and we embrace. Beautifully done, Max...beautifully! !

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Colin J... 15 June 2007

Loved this one Max, sometimes the kindness of strangers is all that people have. Colin J...

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Max Reif

Max Reif

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