During the stop-and-go, stop-and-go
ride to the airport, we laugh about
remodeling our apartment—the glass block insert
that nearly collapsed the back wall,
the upside-down wine rack.
All this chatter is a smoke screen.
The cab drops us at the international terminal.
We beeline to the gate,
rendezvous with other nervous families.
Almost everyone clutches a camera.
Waiting is unbearable. Conversation stalls.
The Korean Air jet lands.
A flight attendant opens the door,
peers out, disappears.
The crowd aches with impatience.
Necks crane for a glimpse of someone, anyone.
A few disheveled passengers meander off the plane.
Finally, a smiling woman appears, carrying a crying infant.
She moves into the crowd.
We watch them for only a heartbeat.
Soon another woman disembarks with a small baby.
And another and another.
A face familiar from home visits and
interviews at last emerges.
She is cradling a black-haired child,
heads straight for us.
I push toward them.
My heart opens wider with each step.
At last, she presents our new daughter,
wet and fitful after her long journey.
I’ve just given birth at JFK.
In my arms,
the tiniest smile, and
reaches for my shiny gold earring.