Jan/Feb 2021  •   Poetry

Missed Connection

by Cat Dixon

Earthscape artwork by Andres Amador

Earthscape artwork by Andres Amador

Missed Connection

You're planning to move again,
and you know I can't follow—

cuffed by mortgage, children,
and place devotion. Too many years

planted in the prairie—I tear up
at Omaha's skyline appearing as a mirage

in the sea of corn, blooming from I-80's cement,
as I race home after dropping off the kids

to their father's in the east for the summer.
Can we even call those short buildings

a skyline? Well, I do. Over the Missouri
the walking bridge is lit up like the yellow

brick road that leads to my front door.
I only visit the bridge in July at night

when jumping seems like an option,
when you're hundreds of miles away—

not available to play lifeguard.
I wonder if you'll miss the Midwest,

Runza, Dairy Queen, and the rest.
Eppley Airfield is my favorite airport—

two concourses—A and B—with that
welcoming Omaha Steaks kiosk

as if air travel lends itself to meat, so I agree
to meet you there before your flight—

need to see you off this one last time.
Sitting at a table in Godfather's Pizza,

me with two slices, you sipping on a soda,
I ask questions. You offer few answers.

Finally, you give a clue, but overhead
a voice calls, The TSA would like

to remind you not to leave your bags
Meaningless warning.

Now it's time for you to go
through security—they need to x-ray

your bag, shoes, and chest. Maybe
there's a beating muscle under your shirt,

I can't be sure. We hug before you slip
into the line, and then I turn, go down

the escalator for I can't follow you to the gate.
I freeze my face until I'm in my car

in the dark of the parking garage.
You don't know that my heart

tags along in your suitcase. In the front
pocket, where you might have stuffed

a magazine or book, she waits. How
am I to know you'll lose your bag

in the Denver airport while studying
the new art exhibit. Denver, an alien

monstrosity, complete with ice skating rink,
miles and miles of distance to run

from one gate to the next. You miss
the connecting flight. Your bag is turned

in, but you failed to fill in the card latched
to its handle. There's no name, no number.

Your suitcase sits for months in lost and found
until donated to the local Goodwill.