Cynthia Miller is a Malaysian-American poet and Co-Director of the Verve Poetry Festival in Birmingham. Her poems have been published in The Best New British and Irish Poets 2018, Primers Volume 2, The Emma Press Anthology of Love, and shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize.
She will be supporting Terrance Hayes at a very special Verve one off poetry event on October 17th, 2018 at Waterstones Birmingham at 7pm. This event takes place as part of his UK tour (and it’s the only Midlands stop!) for his new Penguin Collection American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assasin.
This week we are featuring one of Cynthia’s poems ‘The last hour on the flight deck’. We hope you all enjoy it as much as we did!
The last hour on the flight deck
Shirt too tight, a splotch of mustard (Hokkein noodles?
egg salad?) from lunch eaten somewhere over the Arctic,
steady heartbeat of lights blinking circadian rhythms.
Already his body is waking up when it shouldn’t be,
sun pulling at him from the other side of the world.
Tray tables stowed. The good coffee snuck into the galley
where air stewardesses arch their feet inside boxy heels.
The cabin dark is lush and soft as mouths in sleep.
Landing is just muscle memory. There’s a tipping
that happens as they glide past longitudes, the plane
arriving lighter, passengers heavier. He thinks
it’s a good thing they’re only ten thousand feet
in the air because he saw that film where interstellar
astronauts zip around the galaxy only to return home
the same age as their great-grandchildren, days sliding
out from under them like wet runways. He can relate:
his whole life is spent chasing lights. There’s always
a moment as he crosses the doorway where he waits
for everything around him to have changed, aged, somehow.
It’s never the case. He’s still picking up old socks
and building blocks, hears the familiar gurgle of the second
bathroom’s pipes, slips into bed while dusk
siphons lavender shadows across the room.