Why does the sky appear black from the airplane
even though it's sweltering noon on the ground?
Tell me it's the city mourning my departure-
the sun has taken some time out
Streetlights below glitter blandly like ants
in a line, or the words of a poem. Unaware
of the world around them.
Oh city of facades!
Tell me that you loved me when I sat in your cafes,
breathed your air, walked your streets.
I know I wasn't born to you. I know my parents
lived in your shacks to earn bread and were waiting
to leave your torturous corporate holes. I know that I walked
to school in your streets with the knowledge that I didn't
belong. I couldn't stay long. Yet tell me you loved me
through your polluted air.
Tell me to not forget following
tour guides down your creeks, memorizing
the veins of your roads- the ones that clogged
in the November rain. We'd dawdle hip-deep in water
down your zebra crossings,
while men in fluorescent orange boiler suits
pumped the water into their tipsy tankers.
I go back to a home I do not know, because I spent
all my life in pursuit of you.
Do you know how many friends I leave behind,
incubated in your belly?
Do you know an apartment now sits naked
and scarred in your gully?
I wish a crowd gathered at the airport
to wave me goodbye. I wish you grounded
my airplane. I wish you brought in a storm
and wailed that you would never let me go.
I left with a one-way ticket,
a suitcase, and a duty-free bag.
An official-looking man waved me
up the stairway into the big bird.
The bird sped up, took off,
and flew away.
It was a sunny afternoon.
As a person who spent most of my childhood in a city which was not, according to my passport, my hometown, I wanted to make sense of my feelings and describe the city on the day that I left. I only remember some fine details of the city now; I've forgotten most of my life there (and it's only been under a year since the move happened!). Sometimes I also wonder if some some of my memories of the city are just works of my imagination. So instead of completely adhering to the prompt here, I decided to make a fictional version of my (old) adopted hometown and peppered it with some of my experiences. I'd love to hear what you think about my poem!