Air-side in the Asian Café Bowl Bowl,
a mug of creamed coffee
and a madelaine for comfort for I am tired
and Tokyo’s mass-produced pastry is wonderful,
light as air this one, promising little but holding
fat almonds sweet as butter.
The café is crazy, there are waitresses yelling orders
over the maddening tannoy announcements,
folk drinking beer with their breakfast noodles.
The walls are the colour of rice,
steamed windows overlook
parked aeroplanes and terminal buildings
this port’s concrete apparatus.
I am never closer to the truth of a question
posed by the hard granite pavement of this city
the familiarity of its strange poses, its strange people:
what creates affinity?
What binds us to a place
so that we choose to stay?
There are trees behind the airport fence,
trees and a chimney and gas storage tanks
a dark green forest and it must be quiet over there.
The patient nature of the trees reminds me of my garden
and then another aeroplane lumbers away towards the horizon.
Somewhere beyond that green forest is my home
and though I can’t see it
I am looking for it.
I am already on the move,
going home I am speaking my children’s names,
and they are getting closer.
The tarmac apron, the little jeeps and the airport buses,
the dented luggage crates and aeroplanes:
I don’t own any of this,
all of it is happening to me
and I must play my part
make my way across the earth.
I am raising my children with ideas, knowing
my children are not mine, not really
they are themselves,
they are like these planes at Narita
and I am their tarmac, their source of aviation fuel.
One day ideas will pick them up
and fly them away from me.
At least I hope that’s what happens.
They must go,
and one day they may come home.
If I had a tannoy this would be my announcement.