Standard Procedure

by Erin Jamieson

Washington Metro, July 2008

the woman and man in front of you board without
incident. you are stopped
at the gate.

you worry you set the metal
detector off, though you
didn’t hear it.

as the officer searches you search
your purse mentally: crumpled receipt
for a prescription you couldn’t afford
to fill. a used napkin, pennies, a photo
of your husband.

this is standard procedure, watching
others board as they
take your phone, your privacy.

you want to believe they had a reason but
that reason feels personal. you worry
your skin is not like theirs, that
you should have worn something more
“american”.

the woman and man behind you pass you
by. pretending not to stare as your life
is splayed for all to see. the man looks
too long at the photo, as if
committing
the face to memory.

Erin Jamieson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Miami University of Ohio. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in After the Pause, Into the Void, Flash Frontier, and Foliate Oak Literary, among others, and her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She currently teach English Composition at the University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash College and also works as a freelance writer.

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