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memory blends all
those long-haul flights into one;
quells at the dispiriting brightness
of airport terminals,
all mouth and trousers,
the bleak unwelcome of them
each time I emerge into another land.

where no one ever held up
a rough and ragged corrugated
cardboard sign with my name
marker-penned across it.
no one ever watched for me.

weary to my soul
with sleeplessness
and the prospect of framing questions,
asking directions, in a foreign tongue,
or wrangling with the car hire firm
for the deal they swore to on the phone,
before half-forgetting to drive
on the wrong side of the road.

arriving where time is different
and you can’t just adjust your watch
in order to fit into it.
I wonder always why I’ve come
and why I always have to go.