By the Old Airport

Hong Kong, 1987

The rooftop terrace where we stood face up to the bellies
of descending planes, 150 feet above, blocking our sky;
their thunder filled our ears and throats
as they swooped down to the final approach,
five miles to Kai Tak runway. Expats ourselves, of a
different sort, we asked: was he Scottish and homesick,
the man who named this spot Grampian Road?

Yesterday, I googled you and also our old home.
There are cafes on the road, did you know? Savills
sells new developments. ‘The Grandeur.’ Of course.
Our flushing system never worked, the drains continually clogged,
the paving around our building so uneven, I tripped often.
My scarred knees still know it. You are an interior designer
in a city I’ve never visited. One reason we haven’t met since then.

The Baptist church across our old street is now shiny new,
doors of polished brass and glass; it has sprouted offices
around the modest cream cross that rises above. Unchanged.
Oh those hours you spent, my dear flat-mate, at the window
gazing at the brides on the church steps, aah-ing at their
lavish white dresses, their signature poses:
with groom, without groom, with family, alone.

Alone on the steps but not lonely, always the same photographer
arranging their arms and bouquets; serious, unsmiling, clicking.
At your window you sighed misty-eyed, judged: this dress too frilly,
that train too long, the white not bright enough, the lace bell
sleeves you would love to have. You sucked in your cheeks to pose
for the photographer’s busy back. We knew that you would marry
in red not white, around a fire and not on a Sunday. Yet.

The street behind us filled with a string of hairdressers, I got
a sharp new bob, styled by the young apprentice who took
too long but gave me a haircut everyone remarked on.
Google shows me a hotel occupying that row. Contemporary.
It’s not like the one we went to for the smorgasbord brunch, the spicy bloodymarys,
the dim dining room with secret mould in the corners,
our overloaded plates, our grins reckless towards our sedate futures.


Shortlisted for the Milestones Poetry Competition 2017



Featured Image Credit

January 24, 2018

Poetry by Kavita A. Jindal

By the Old Airport
November 13, 2017

Poetry by Rushika Wick

Poetry by Rushika Wick
October 30, 2017

Poetry by Omar Sabbagh

Poetry by Omar Sabbagh
September 11, 2017

Olivia Dehnavi Poetry

Three poems by Olivia Dehnavi
July 19, 2017

Sorrows of the Sun by Sogol Sur

Sogol Sur talks to Aisha Phoenix about her poetry collection Sorrows of the Sun.
May 12, 2017

Of Aqua by Otis Elliott

Poetry by Otis Eliott
April 26, 2017

And this time it’s personal

Poet Fran Lock writes on the connection between poetry and therapy.
April 5, 2017

Poetry by Pascale Gillet

Poetry by Pascale Gillet
March 15, 2017

Call For Submissions Poetry and Fiction

The Birkbeck BA Creative Writing programme’s literary journals are now inviting submissions from all BA Creative Writing students for their new editions, to be published as eBooks in June 2017.
February 23, 2017

Fishing by Alexandra Melville

Poetry by Alexandra Melville
February 16, 2017

Poetry by Nicholas Murray

On The Great Western, Mnemonic and Pink Gin
February 9, 2017

Clydach Gorge by Cage Williams

Poetry by Cage Williams
February 2, 2017

Poetry by Aliyah Kim Keshani

Two poems by Aliyah Kim Keshani
January 26, 2017

Poetry by Clare Pennington

Three poems by Clare Pennington
January 19, 2017

Poetry by Mark Mayes

Three poems by Mark Mayes
January 9, 2017

Poetry by Vida Mikalcius

Vida Mikalcius
December 19, 2016

Chart Poems by Margot Wilson

Margot Wilson’s visual poetry
December 11, 2016

Hope by Steven Rogers

Poetry by Steven Rogers
November 2, 2016

Poetry by John O’Meara Dunn

Matters Arising and Cold War Sequence