at the airport

It wasn't pain exactly, not quite loss. The
hum of traveler's ready to travel, the
squeaky wheels of rolling luggage carts, a
murmur of men in collared shirts smoking
goodbye cigarettes and children wide eyed
with excitement. I could smell it in the
incubated shampoo carpet, in the gauche,
over-vacuumed couches, something missing,
something put away safe and secure only
lost now. My arteries slowed down. The air
never felt so cold, hands in my pocket were
never so futile, the exhaled breath floating
back at me had never been so entirely
shapeless, swirling, almost lying. For one
moment, the universe froze, time and space
managed a waver. My stomach twisted and
protested, like the sick surprise of a sudden
dip in the road. The realization. I was alone.
He was gone and nobody gave a fuck.

Zach McNaughton, 31, lives in Toledo, Ohio
with his beautiful four year old daughter,
Cassandra. They enjoy strawberry ice cream
cones and going to the beach with their dog,

2005 Underground Voices