“There’s always some -ism in the airport.
You just don’t know if it’s terrorism, Buddhism, or autism.”
The teenager with the lumpy backpack
and iPod dances next to the sign:
Indianapolis 11:00 am. Light brown hairs smudge
his lip. His wrist sports a knuckle Band-aid,
and his knee socks are yellow, pink, and blue.
The gate agent follows him with her eyes.
The young man is staring behind her counter.
He shakes as if he is having a seizure
or a new song has started, the beat faster,
more insistent. He drums on the counter
and throws his arms into the air, singing
a few words loudly. The agent lays her hand
on the telephone. The boy’s mother scoops him up
like a Huey gathering the wounded at Khe Sanh.
Her gaze lays down covering fire for their retreat.
*Previously published in Monday Coffee & Other Stories
Tracy Mishkin is an MFA student in Creative Writing at Butler University. Her chapbook, I Almost Didn’t Make It to McDonald’s, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014. She has two poems in Reckless Writing 2013: The Continued Modernization of Poetry and one in Best of Flying Island 2014. She has poems forthcoming in The Quotable and Little Patuxent Review.