My mother introduced me to the work of Naomi Shihab Nye. She is now one of my favorite poets. The picture she paints in this story is how I want to live in the world — to embody it, to connect with everyone around me so that we can be rooted together.

Live & Learn

naomi_shihab_nye

Gate A-4 By Naomi Shihab Nye:

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be…

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One thought on “Gate A-4

  1. Jane, this is world I have been living in since I got sick. I can’t begin to tell you how many time people have helped me thru different parts of this journey. I believe as the bible says we are the hands and feet of Christ. This is a perfect example. Thanks for sharing.

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