Poetry Porch: Poetry


Ambassador of Want 
by Kathryn Liebowitz 

At the hour of her death, I was traveling:
You, holding her hand.
Perhaps when she died I was in the airplane ladies room,
Putting on lipstick, peeing, combing my hair, washing,
Playing with those foolish automatic faucets that miss a beat,
Spit, and cease. Perhaps the pilot was in the middle 
Of telling us about the winds and the rain;
Perhaps the pilot was thinking of home;
Perhaps she died as the wheels spun and splashed
Onto the runway; or a few minutes earlier,
As the stewards dished out candies, collected pillows,
Brought that demanding somebody one last drink;
When every voice in the plane hushed, when the silence
Smelled of solemnity and want. Then, Sister,

By the time we arrived she had stopped breathing
After hours of struggling for breath.
The whole time we were airborne, in fact,
From early morning to mid-afternoon,
She lay on the narrow white bed gasping:
You, holding her hand. 

Copyright © 2003 by Kathryn Liebowitz.