(Charu Chaturvedi/Unsplash)

Christmas Eve is a hive of frustration.

Snowstorms in Denver or endangered birds
    nesting in Chicago—reasons. Bags all

checked thru. Feliz Navidad card from her
    domestic worker (more a friend really)
         in the carry-on. Phone dead but nothing

(now that there is something) to text. Cannot
    even in the anxiety form a

complete thought. She was going back any-
    way—wasn’t she?—with good reports, making
         good money with good friends. Going back now,

more a child than ever, caught out despite
    having practiced off and on now and then

for the eventualities of ill-
    ness, then (probably) more illness and the
         non-alternatives that precede the deaths

of others.
              Runways haze into the sun-

         If she presses against the plate glass,

she might see the ocean. Almost, she thinks,
    the panic cascading, almost made it.

Eric Rawson lives in Pasadena and teaches at the University of Southern California. He is a former Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the author of Banana Republic and The Hummingbird Hour. His work has appeared in numerous periodicals, including Slate, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, and Commonweal.

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Published in the December 2021 issue: View Contents
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