time machine

Melancholy Hyperbole

when I boarded a Pan Am 707
in Dakar Senegal
forty years ago
leaving Africa for America not knowing
I would never return
I entered a time machine filled with
more people than my village
I found myself among forgotten comforts
air conditioning
fresh water
clean toilets where I could sit
instead of squat

the quiet and scents of my village returned
when I opened the sack lunch friends gave me
knowing I would need it on a flight that began in Nairobi
and ran out of milk and beer and small packages
of peanuts by the time it departed
Lagos for Dakar

I slept uneasily all the way to JFK
twice using the toilet where I struggled
to remember which way to turn the faucets
which was hot and which cold
how to turn them off
how to flush the toilet

a tired stewardess woke me just before landing

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