“Christmas Vigil at Sacramento International Airport” by Alison Davis

Alison Davis


At a wobbly metal table, I sit sketching
chalk dudleyas and milkweed. A woman
behind me explains loudly into her phone
that every seat on every flight on every other
airline is booked. All the rentals cars in the county
are taken. The hotels that shuttle to and from
the airport are all full. More people keep flowing
in through the double doors, eager-eyed
and flanked with festive baggage. An agent
with a megaphone continuously announces that
all flights are canceled and no new reservations
are being made. The woman behind me cries.
I consider for a moment asking her to come home
with me, imagine for a moment spending a night
with someone I might love, comfort, even touch
in some small way. She shuffles off before I can offer
good tidings. I start shading the delicate blossoms
of a globe gilia. A mother lays her coat on the ground
and changes her newborn baby’s diaper then tucks
the barely earth-kissed body into a stroller to sleep.
They have nowhere to go. My ride arrives.
The fog is too thick to see the stars.

from Poets Respond
January 1, 2023


Alison Davis: “I spent two days at the Sacramento airport, trying to get a Southwest flight to Kansas City. We were all sent home on the first day and told to use the website or call customer service to rebook. The service line and the website were both down, so I went back to the airport to try and get us new flights. When I arrived, all the departure signs still showed that flights were leaving. By the time I left, each one had been canceled. While I waited to get picked up, I drew in my sketchbook, eavesdropped, daydreamed, and felt the weight of displaced people everywhere.” (web)

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