Back to Issue Five.

On Being Asked If I'd Ever Been to Georgia



I had a fifteen-minute layover in Atlanta, 
headed from one place full of desire 
to another bereft of all. I remember the lights 
of the city as we banked above it— 
a vast and toppled Christmas tree 
no one had bothered to right. 
Later, I chuffed through the wide hallways— 
refusing the smiles of the greeters, 
demanding the path to the place my ticket 
insisted that I be. There wasn't even time 
for a drink before I got in the line 
and left. Sometimes, I wonder 
about that Georgia dirt I never walked on. 
For all I know it is made of watch cogs 
and glitter. I have only the mulch of the airport 
planters, which dotted my route 
through the artificial air of a terminal 
that shunted me back into sky. 
On the plane, I was shown the escape routes, 
and the lights of the world became small 
and untouchable once again. Up ahead, 
the stewardess and her cart of little whiskeys 
came closer row by row. 



Charles Rafferty's poems have appeared in The New Yorker and The Southern Review, and his stories have appeared in The Sonora Review and The Cortland Review. His most recent chapbook of poems is Appetites (Clemson University Press). Currently, he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College.