British Air
By Susan de Sola

In the pocket of a British Airways
chair, an in-flight magazine in flight
flaps in its centrefold
a cartography of routes,
routed in red, an empire
of aeroplanes.

The arcs seem phonic
as Pisa lead to Tunis,
Newquay to Cork,
and Killarney can Kilkenny.

Jersey mimics Guernsey,
Glasgow ends as Carlow,
and Nairobi swallows Cairo.

Not imperial,
yet empyreal,
the panoply of red lines,
spokes of a coloured umbrella,
spreading out from London’s nub,
covering and eclipsing
British mails,
British rails,
cleaving happy ozone trails.