Categories Poetry

James C. Henderson

News has reached me late, like a message in a bottle
washed over the waves of generations
that you were not lost at sea as thought
but marooned on the tiny island of Nikumaroro
a pinpoint in the blue map of the Pacific Ocean.

That was in 1937 on your flight around the world.
And what have I been doing all this time?
Nothing really—chasing a route that has led me
to this desolate dot on the Minnesota prairie.
Only now turning to you over a sea of snow
to see that you were looking toward me all this while.

O, Amelia, had I known that you were missing
I would have looked for you as the others did
searching, searching until their eyes and hearts ached
not knowing you were waiting
something they could not have known
something I cannot forget.

Even now I want to search for you—
you who are no longer lost in place but time.
I want to join the researchers who walk
where you last walked, who found a sextant box
compact, the sole of a shoe, a jar of freckle cream
who sleep were you last slept, who eat where you last ate
who stand where you last stood looking up
at a mountain range of clouds; the only place
your Electra took you that you were ever safe.

O, Amelia, had I heard the newsflash that you were missing
I would have looked where G.P. could have never looked
and I would have never stopped
cruising around and around your palm-filled island
until I saw you standing on the white beach
tanned, hair bleached by the sun, waving
calling, “I am here, I am here.”
You rushing into the water
I jumping into the surf, wading closer and closer
to you until, finally, in your teary embrace
I would know what it is like to be found.