At the Gate

Say you are not watching people take off
their shoes, put their belongings on 
a conveyer, empty their pockets
of change. Say you are wearing 

an extravagant silk scarf,
oversized sunglasses, a brilliant
smile. No searches stand
between you and the silver

jet warming its engines
at the gate. But

no. The men keep
taking off their jackets,

the line inches forward,
all of us barefoot, bare
headed, heading toward
more lines, the roll call

at each gate. There is no
elegant scarf, only a lavender
cardigan. No sunglasses,

just your private smile 

at your daughter
planning her wedding and
your same blessed husband
hours ahead. No movie Idylwild 

departure, but KCI’s concrete
terminal—an actual
ordinary life.


Leatha Kendrick is the author of three volumes of poetry, including her most recent, Almanac of the Invisible. Her poems and essays have been widely anthologized, and she is a two-time recipient of the Al Smith Fellowship in Poetry from the Kentucky Arts Council and has received fellowships from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Her MFA in Poetry is from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she leads workshops at the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.