Winter 2005-6

Linda Graham


We arrive at the airport early,
sit around, drink coffee, wander
into Boots, buy a toothbrush,
sample perfume, work out comparisons
of duty free versus hometown pounds,
lounge in chairs, guard our baggage trolley
like a cat under a baby’s pram,
listen to chatter between two Italian men,
their inflections and nuances,
go to check-in, check out the woman
in the ill-fitting dress, wonder
if her friends really like her,
queue at Gate 31, try not to notice
an older Mum and Dad, their
Down’s Syndrome child in a
grown-up body, watch the clock
and click our impatient tongues,
walk on board and wait,
wait for the thunder of engines,
the Boeing 757 to try its flaps
and levers and different wing shapes,
while a baby starts to cry in the seat
behind us and the Captain says
‘Sorry for the delay, a passenger
is deciding whether or not to fly,’
and we click our collective
impatient tongues, and through
the book-size window I watch
potential tourists in the waiting
lounge and see the face of the
Downs Syndrome boy as he
screams behind the glass
and behind us the baby
continues crying and kicking
the back of my seat,
the ‘Fasten Your Seatbelt’
light clicks on and the hostess
says ‘Please pay attention,
we are selling perfumes and sweets
and vodka today,’
and the Captain announces
‘Apologies for the delay.’




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