In the swarm of arrivals

at the international terminal

an anxious welcomer perches

under oversized monitors,

her two young children

chasing one another,

tugging at each other’s arms,

as anonymous depleted passengers

with luggage carts piled high

stream from a gaping linoleum hallway.

She watches clutching for relief

as others lean consummate

into the waiting arms of loved ones

then whisk themselves off

folded into easy gestures of familiarity.

With each departing cluster,

nagging emptiness grows,

filling her eyes

that settle without recognition

on the faces of each emerging traveler.

The minutes drip by.

Her children now bump in boredom

against her,

the face of their auntie dimmed

from memory.

Then without words,

distance shrinks

between two grown sisters,

separated halves,

any differences forgotten,

as their reaching arms touch.

First published by Avatar Review August 2019