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This poem is taken from PN Review 166, Volume 32 Number 2, November - December 2005.

The Anxiety of Airports Ruth Fainlight

Waiting for someone due on a certain plane
and the plane arrives and you strain to scrutinise
every stranger coming through the swinging doors,
wondering if you will recognise him;
your tension increasing, the anxiety level rising;
then only the last few stragglers...
But the person you came to meet does not appear.
(And the explanation, only days later.)

Or flying half-way around the world, a journey of
longueurs and transfers stretched across so many time zones -
wakeful hours in hotel bedrooms and the 4:00 am call -
until, under flickering neon, adrift along
the static-crackling carpets of inter-terminal
connecting corridors, you're not sure if it's day or night.

And after you've struggled to drag your luggage off
the carousel, negotiated Immigration,

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