PoetryIssue 07 | November 2009

A Song for Departures

by Maryann Corbett

Once, it was kinder. Once, there were some compensations.
Once, you’d arrive at the gate
loved ones in tow—which created its own irritations,
but company helped with the wait—
and you’d read them the monitors, chant them the magical list.
Grandparents, camera shots, mugging.
Grinning to look at the couples still groggily blissed.
Boarding call: chaos of hugging—
Nothing like that any more. Love is not listed
online with the carry-on tips.
A churn of the stomach, a gripping of panic resisted.
Only a brush of the lips
and they pull from the curb.  You thump and fumble your stuff
through a gauntlet of frowning mistrust,
airport security hovering, narrow-eyed, gruff.
(Contempt in the look, or disgust?)
Strip like a convict. Off with the belt and the shoes.
Empty the change and the keys.
(Missing here, something you couldn’t imagine you’d lose.)
Walk to the scanner. Freeze:
Go, lugging doubt in your baggage. Step clear of the zone,
pulling yourself together. Leaving, alone.

About the author

Maryann Corbett’s poems, essays, and translations can be found in Atlanta Review, The Evansville Review, River Styx, and others. Lately she’s traveled a lot for family reasons both happy and sad, between her upper midwest home and destinations on the east coast.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok