Airport Parking Lot

Between the painted yellow lines, the cars
and trucks and jeeps wait. Lined-up, orderly.

But there is a strange equilibrium
in the continuous movement: arrivals

displacing departures. Like the slow
migration of workers across the country,

but in that case the equilibrium is stranger,
not like equilibrium at all. They say

that you will get your bearings, but that
part still doesn’t make sense.

The chickadees remind you of home,
but not because you ever identified

with them – in fact, you don’t even
remember seeing one before moving

here. They are your province’s emblematic
bird in a foreign landscape.

That is why you keep the birdfeeder full,
and engineers build airport expansions.

~ Ian LeTourneau

Ian LeTourneau’s poetry has appeared widely in journals and anthologies, and twice won CBC’s Alberta Anthology. A chapbook, Defining Range, was published by Gaspereau Press in 2006, and a full-length collection, Terminal Moraine, was brought out by Thistledown Press in 2008. A transplanted Maritimer, he lives and works in Athabasca. He also occasionally blogs at

“I’m not from Alberta originally; I’m a transplanted Maritimer—so I’m very interested in any metaphor that explores that feeling of limbo, of being between two cultures, of being between two concepts of home.”

Read more of Ian LeTourneau’s poetry:
Pump Jacks

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

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