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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Flight MH370

            And a crack in the teacup opens
                                                –WH Auden

Their faces stare out,
pressed against the ovals of panes
as the aeroplane hastens
into radar silence.
She is sitting beside her husband, who secretly
has cancer, knows she’s having an affair.
Under that blanket, a boy is counting time on his fingers.
A girl sleeps against her mother’s shoulder,
while the man on her right
soars away, thoughts exploding:
I should have had more sex.
The angle of a wing dips
into refractions of light
as they frantically ask questions.
Two hundred
and thirty nine passengers,
texting those precious three words.
One woman turns to the stranger beside her,
takes his hand.
She does not pray, holds
on to loneliness, though he squeezes.
His face is salt. Sensitive eyes.
Touch will keep them feeling alive, until
the last moment.
She thinks of drinking rum with those fishermen
in Kuching, the music, everybody laughing,
her eyes squeezing tears.

©Afric McGlinchey

Afric McGlinchey’s début The lucky star of hidden things (Salmon) is being translated into Italian. A Pushcart nominee, she won the Hennessy poetry award and Northern Liberties poetry prize. www.africmcglinchey.com


  1. Love this work, especially 'Touch will keep them feeling alive, until/
    the last moment.'

    1. Thanks Abigail. I found myself wondering what I'd be thinking about, in those last minutes..

  2. A beautiful poem. One of the best I've read in a good while. Thank you.

  3. Wow. Amazing poem. You've really captured how it might be, in an achingly poetic way. Awesome, in the genuine sense of the word.

    1. Thanks Laura. This kind of thing is preying on my mind at the moment, as I'm going to be doing a fair bit of flying over the next couple of months! We have to appreciate every moment we have, don't we, because you just never know.

  4. Wow. Just wow. What a moving poem, crafted beautifully. Thank you@

  5. Just beautiful. Not sentimental, totally prosaic-yet very touching.

  6. Lots of gorgeous phrasing here, Afric! Beautifully done. So many to linger over and return to. Loved this image of the strangers: holds
    on to loneliness, though he squeezes. His face salt, and yes touch..... until the last moment. Well done!