Red Rocker

Slick Chrome seats, vinyl cushioned in black,
line the airport’s waiting room at Gate B,
the black and gray carpet and wide space
between rows inviting  momentary rest
from the anxious hustle of passengers
trailing wheeled luggage
to and from their flights.
How surprising to see,
at the end of one chrome row,
a solitary wooden rocker, painted red
with slatted seat,
facing the large, floor-to-ceiling window,
as if watching the busy tarmac below.
How did that rocker get there?
Who would have thought to make such
a dazzling statement,
a symbol of leisure and relaxation
in a world of speed and destination?
It could only have been a poet,
speaking without words
of the sphere’s newest dance,
swirling in and out of the coveted past
like a Sufi meditation
on the value of taking time to listen
to every sojourner’s anxious heart
and its seesawing secrets.



Why he thought an elderly person
would be the first to sit in the empty rocker,
he’s not sure.
Instead two  young women found it.
The first, an airport employee,
on her feet since earely morning
seemed to relish the chair,
sipping bottled water and resting her head
against it’s high back,
closing her eyes for just a moment
and then rising to head home
with a parting nod and smile to him.
The second, a teenager on crutches,
went directly to the rocker,
her sister and mother close by,
sitting there a few minutes,
then getting up and hobbling away,
the torn knee ligaments healed enough
for short excursions.
The red rocker, however, did its job,
encouraging old-fashion conversation
between the caring mother and him,
time set aside to talk of poetry and
her poet-friend who speaks fearlessly
to Ireland’s social ills, combating controversy
in truth with love.
Before they were through, he had given
the trio a copy of his recent book and
the mother had invited him
to Galway for a visit, with his own room
and key.


From Who’s Who in American Poetry 2013

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