Margot Schilpp

I have nothing to declare.
There's nothing inside my suitcase
that shouldn't be there.
There are no eggs.
There is no currency.
I do not have any fruit. I am out of cheese
and pudding. There is not an ounce
of meat. I have not secreted a porterhouse.
I gobbled the last of my pills
before I boarded the plane. I couldn't swallow
the balloons of heroin. I am not a mule.
I have nothing to declare.
I travel light.
That is my raincoat.
Those are feminine hygiene products.
That is a hairbrush.
There is nothing else to say.
I have nothing to declare.
You do not need to look in my bags.
There is nothing to find.
I do not have any monkeys.
I do not have any orchids.
There have been no illnesses.
I have nothing to tell you.
I am hoping to come back the day after tomorrow.
These chocolates are for my hostess.
I have nothing to declare.
I will not be bringing back anything unusual.
Please let me through.
I apologize for the lateness of the hour.
There is no reason to search me.
Please, take your time as you riffle through my bag.
I have nothing to tell you.
I have nothing to declare.
No one has asked me to carry anything.
I would not do so anyway.
My luggage has been in my control.
These bags are mine, all mine.
Please. Let me through without delay.
I have never made a bomb.
I do not know any terrorists.
I am not an expert at incendiary devices.
I am an expert at language.
I have nothing to declare.






This poem emerged as I was just about to undertake some travel and was imagining, in our new, suspicious world, how one might gracefully answer the questions of those who are charged with asking them. As I wrote, it became more about the ridiculousness of believing that when one has something to hide, one will freely admit it. I think I might also have been scouring the TSA's web rules....