Searched by Laurel Benjamin


Freshly lopped off like prey
I’m caught once again at SEATAC
baggage searched
like I have a mark on my forehead
saying “stop me.”

I can hear the engines roar
picture my plane
like an owl trying not to be seen—
it will carry me to the island.

I have nothing to declare
except the loss of my mother
stomach turbulence
as the employee pulls out packing cubes
trying to locate an offence.

He zips open my toiletries kit—
“What’s this for?” he asks of the face cream.
The one my mother used.

I need to make the connection
a whole day flying
over the ring of fire
as if each volcano
will reawaken.


Laurel Benjamin is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she invented a secret language with her brother. She has work forthcoming or published in Lily Poetry Review, Black Fox, Word Poppy Press, Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry, South Florida Poetry Journal, Trouvaille Review, The Fourth River, Limit Experience, California Quarterly, Mac Queens Quinterly, among others. Affiliated with the Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and the Port Townsend Writers, she holds an MFA from Mills College.

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