We spot you at once in the crowd
from Gate 17 -
slower than the others,
walking toward us
on a cane.
We hug you loosely -
wary of your pain
as if it were contagious.
A little breathless,
like a child exhausted
from its first steps,
you stand very still,
letting us happen to you.
As your suitcase
comes wobbling by,
we snatch it from the carousel
like a last chance.
It's a quiet drive home -
you have always been taciturn -
and we, tired
from your long flight,
will save our questions
until we are sure
we can handle the answers.

Marianne Poloskey

MARIANNE POLOSKEY's first book of poems is Climbing the Shadows. Her poetry has appeared in many journals, including Paterson Literary Review, River Oak Review, Chiron Review, Palo Alto Review, Rattle, Louisiana Literature, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and The Christian Science Monitor, where 25 of her poems have appeared. Two of her poems are featured in the Christian Science Monitor 2002 Engagement Calendar. Her work is also included in the recent anthologies Grief (Wise Publications) and American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement (Iowa University Press). She lives with her husband in northern New Jersey,
where she owns a translation bureau.