I love flying into Brisbane. I press my head against the plane window as we snake our way up the coast and then turn into Moreton bay. Boats dot the blue of the bay and I can see the shadow of our plane pass overhead. And then we drop lower and I can just make out the mangroves.
I can’t remember where George Street is. I’m sitting in a coffee shop trying desperately to walk out this city in my mind. But I’ve forgotten the streets. In that moment I know that this city is not mine anymore. I want to cry but mainly I want someone to tell me that it will be alright. That I don’t need a city to call my own. I know that soon (maybe all too soon) I’ll forget how sad I was that day. If I tell myself the truth I only want a home so that I have somewhere to run away from and somewhere to come back to. So today I’ll let this melancholia weigh me down with memory and loss.
I held the creamy flower against my cheek.
I thought angrily,
the smell of Brisbane.
I had to hold onto the gate.
There was surf around my ears,
the smell of frangipani,
I was caught in an undertow.
Janette Turner Hospital from ‘The Ocean of Brisbane’ in Collected Works