Poet-in-Residence: Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport

5 March 2018:

Poet-in-residence at the airport. That’s what I’ve called myself for the past six months, sitting out here with each day’s inbound and outbound flights, working at the Yellowstone store, doing what I can for the park, writing poems in my downtime.

But it’s all coming to an end today. My last day. My last afternoon here in this lull between flights, waving to the janitor or the security guard every hour, almost like clock-work.

It’s been odd but good, I’ll say that, talking Yellowstone with strangers right here by baggage claim, sending tourists off with smiles, scribbling away in my notebook (a new one, medium-sized, college-ruled and red).

The pages have piled up. The poems, the notes, the weather. The hurried lives passing through here for a little taste of Montana.

I can’t complain.

Yellowstone has been a big part of my life since summer 2009 when I first visited, camping by the lake. It was the trip that prompted my return the next summer for a seasonal job as housekeeper in the Canyon area.

And now, here I am, eight years later, ninety miles north of the north entrance, resigning as poet-in-residence at the Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport. A made-up position, seriously pursued.

Friends, family, when you ask yourself, what the hell has Travis been doing out there in Montana, let this be a little bit of the answer: helping Yellowstone, writing poems.

Oh, and working the used book sales.

*

Here, then, is a final note from the airport…

This morning a woman came into the store looking for a Yellowstone t-shirt. I pointed her to the ones we had and asked her how she was doing today.

She replied with wit and cheer: Oh, I’m still dragging it all behind me.

Yes, yes, aren’t we all.

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