by Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard
At the airport, a megalopolis crowd churns by,
each person or family intent on their destination,
the minutes and hours guiding their steps.
A woman pushes my wheelchair to the gate.
She is quiet, steady in her task, her face taut,
withdrawn, but I ask her where she is from
because the cloud of her hair and her accent
speaks of a distant world. “I am from Africa “
she states. “Where in Africa?” I continue.
“Kenya, why did you ask?” she queries
with suspicion. As we go through security,
the chair is examined by an irritable guard
with an electric wand, and she is criticized.
I watch her shrug her shoulders
as if she were casting off the dailiness
of her trials. Then on the ramp to the plane,
I tell her I didn’t mean to be rude
with my questions, believing that everyone
is a story. She leans over and whispers,
“My name is Pesira. What is yours?”
“Marguerite,” I reply, seeing her face pulse
with an inner light that follows me
with its glow as we hold each other
across so many boundaries,
redeeming ourselves from invisibility.
** * * *
Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard is the author of 9 poetry books, two of which have won awards, as well as a number of non-fiction books on women and human rights, (Revolutionizing Motherhood; the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo) human rights, social justice, illness and grief. She is a former professor of Political Science and Poetry, and currently a Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Studies Program Brandeis U. Her latest collection of poems is The Flame of Life (Human Error Publishing, 2018).