by Nydia Rojas


“Ma’am, is this your bag?”
the inspector politely asks. I answer yes
and he requests I open it.

Behind me, an Asian looking woman
awaits to go through the metal detector.
I saw her earlier, drinking coffee at the cafe.
Hard not to notice. We were the only ones
with black hair and a foreign accent.

The inspector moves shoes and socks around.
The bag containing personal hygiene items
sinks to the bottom of my suitcase.

“What did you see in there?” I ask.
I try to remember if at any moment after arriving
at the airport I left my luggage unattended.

I had declared no when
they had asked me earlier.

The white skin, white hair inspector
explains, “We are required by federal law
to conduct random luggage inspections.”

As I retrieve my bag, the Asian woman
walks through the metal detector. I wonder if her bag
will also be randomly selected for inspection.

I walk away. Blond hair heads begin to move
around me again while my bag trails
behind me on its wheels.

I walk away, search for the exit from
which my plane will be departing,
randomly looking over my shoulder.

-originally published in Flyby