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Long Beach, CA

The Duty Free Shop

When we came up from the cave of jetway with its bright lights behind us,
We were given “good days” and “b-byes” as we made our way
Into a different kind of light—not yellow like the sun, but white
And the room tinged with a king of ringing, like a penumbra of sound spilling from the shade,
That said, “All is safe here,” 
A Siren’s song
A serenade

I held all in wonder on my first long trip: all the people passing with such purpose
To great things, from here to there, on long flights
But we were momentarily, my grandmother said, in the den of iniquity
And she shook her head and pursed her lips, checking a price tag over the rim of her thick glasses

But then I saw a star of light cross her face
The confusion, the sense of impendent grace
"That’s half the price,” she said to no one (certainly not to me)
Before, as if kissed by an angel,
She grabbed my hand and guided me to a rack of toy cars and teddy bears
Where I played, as she spent ten minutes rifling through the devil’s things 

And when she bought me chocolate
I saw in her bag the very bottle of devil’s syrup that had raised such flags
As she looked at me with kind eyes and smiled
Before we made our way into the great white city sprawling like angels’ wings beneath our feet


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