Today’s poem is “Transportation” by Kristen Lindquist. Kristen lives in her hometown of Camden. She received her MFA from the University of Oregon. She's the author of three collections of poetry, including the chapbook Invocation to the Birds, Transportation, and Tourists in the Known World: New & Selected Poems, which came out this spring.
She writes, “ ‘Transportation’ is one attempt in my ongoing effort to capture a moment of everyday ecstasy, when personal joy suddenly (briefly) transforms and casts meaning on everything around me. I often find myself lulled into a poetic frame of mind when traveling. I wrote the first draft of this poem right there in the airport, before my connecting flight arrived.
by Kristen Lindquist
Everyone in O’Hare is happy today.
Sun shines benevolently
onto glorious packaged snack foods
and racks of Bulls T-shirts.
My plane was twenty minutes early.
Even before I descend into the trippy light show
of the walkway between terminals,
I am ecstatic. I can’t stop smiling.
On my flight we saw Niagara Falls
and Middle America green and gold below.
Passengers thanked the pilot for his smooth landing
with such gratitude that I too
thanked him, with sudden and wholehearted sincerity.
A group of schoolchildren passes on the escalator,
and I want to ask where they’re going.
Tell me your story, I want to say.
This is life in motion.
A young couple embraces tearfully at a gate;
she’s leaving, he’s not.
How can I bring this new self back to you intact?
He yells to her departing back,
“Hey, I like the way you move!”
Any kind of love seems possible.
We walk through this light together.
So what if it’s an airport?
So what if it won’t last?
Poem copyright © 2011 Kristen Lindquist.
Reprinted from Tourists in the Known World, Megunticook Press, 2017,
by permission of Kristen Lindquist.