Wake: Up to Poetry
Poem of the Week: “Airports” by Leontia Flynn
It’s Homecoming week at Wake Forest, so we have selected a poem for today which reflects on the liminality of travel. We wish a safe journey to all alumni making their way back toward their alma maters, be it via skyways or highways.
Airports are their own peculiar weather.
Their lucid hallways ring like swimming pools.
From each sealed lounge, a pale nostalgic sky
burns up its gases over far-flung zones,
and the planes, like a child’s mobile, hang at random.
Like hospitals, they are their own dominion.
We have tried their dishes with plastic knives.
We have packed our bags ourselves, no one has tampered with them,
and as we pass through the eye of the charged needle,
our keys and wallets drop from us like stones.
But now we are passing quicker, colder, clearer,
from East to West un-policed, a gate of light
which lengthens like some animal proboscis
(where has the night gone? what’s all this time on our hands?)
or a hoop bowled along at speed beside the sun.
And when we return, the airports remain in us.
We rock, dry-eyed, and we are not at home.
–Leontia Flynn, from The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry (2011)