Expected Delays 

 
The food court is a desert, undergoing renovations, and the fast food burger chain has run 
out of Happy Meals. Instead, they are selling Tragedy Meals. The French fries are soggy, 
despite their coating of abrasive salt, the kind they use to melt ice on the sidewalk. The 
sandwich is a bun, inside a bun, inside another bun, slathered in mayonnaise of dubious 
provenance. 
 
None of the water fountains are working, the planes are grounded, lost in a storm of dust, 
and the flights have been delayed for months. The women braid each other's hair. The men 
braid each other's beards. 
 
The smell of the bathrooms is its own forbiddance, nearly a solid wall. The travelers form a 
circle and begin a rotating dance like a hora, circles within circles, tendrils breaking off 
toward the gates, where they sleep, so they will always be ready to depart. Meanwhile, a child 
is dowsing for water with a pair of disposable wooden chopsticks.