Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Gerry LaFemina: Security

The man in the Explosive Specialist shirt
mentions he’s Secret Service not TSA
 
summoned from some hidden terminal
room to search my bags, talk me through
 
the process. My carry-on flagged for protein
bars that might be plastique, & I failed
 
the swab test, some residue battery acid
or fertilizer on my fingertips. I’m lucky
 
my passport’s blue though it’s summer so
I’m swarthier than usual. Like crows
 
hovering fresh carrion, so many gawkers
—heading for vacation, heading for home—
 
have gathered. They point. They whisper. 
Who knew excitement might start before 
 
boarding. Will they look for me on their planes?
It doesn’t help I’ve packed several copies of
 
The Story of Ash among shirts & socks.
It’s not a manifesto, I assure. Four other agents 
 
ransack the backpack my laptop’s in, 
not one cracks a joke. I’m lucky
 
I’m white. I know. I’m lucky they’re looking out
for me, I remind myself. I need to believe that
 
despite news stories of ICE & the border patrol
every uniform isn’t bad. Hell, in their badge photos
 
they’re smiling, each of them. One explains
how he’ll pat me down with the back of his hands,
 
now; later in another room after another failure
it’ll be fronts of hands that search my arms & legs,
 
ankles & waistband. They won’t be frowning,
just serious, wary. I worry too much. They find 
 
nothing for there’s nothing to find. It’s due diligence. 
I put my shoes back on. Re-pack my suitcase.
 
I’m leaving the United States fora few weeks,
but I’ll be back, I whisper, almost a warning.



Copyright 2021 Gerry LaFemina

Gerry LaFemina’s many books include Baby Steps in Doomsday Prepping (Madville Publishing, 2019). He teaches at Frostburg State University in Maryland.

xray — a painting by Verkhrshaus (source: Printer Attic)

3 comments on “Gerry LaFemina: Security

  1. Gerry LaFemina
    February 17, 2021

    I rarely write “autobiography” in my poems. I’m much more interested in what’s possible that didn’t happen but could have. Sad to say, though, this is pretty much exactly how it went down.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alexander Morgan
    February 17, 2021

    I like the delicate balance, the resignation, and (lightly) the humor. What can you do? Just get on with it. Great poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Huntington
    February 16, 2021

    And I paid $100 for a special pass and it doesn’t work because I have very light fingerprints

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on February 16, 2021 by in Humor and Satire, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , .

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