• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 01
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Memories of Malta

I shift uneasily
in my window seat
aboard a passenger plane
bound for Malta International Airport.

Stormy weather
has caused constant turbulence
and a silent fear

to descend.
Our descent

through dark, electrically charged clouds
towards that tiny little island
is rapid, rocky,
and risky.

I cannot remember
the message in the captain’s words,
only the infectious trepidation
evident in them.

we drop more rapidly.
I turn my head to see
that my plane window
has become a porthole
with a cloudy view of the sea
mere meters below.

A nearby scream of terror
pierces the fearful silence.


Memories of Malta

In this moment,
my short life
on that huge big island –
Australia –
doesn’t flash before me.
Rather, I have
visions of memories
of an alternate reality
growing up
on this tiny little island –

I am struck by the resemblance
to the contents of travel guides.

I am walking
hand in hand with my mother
along crumbly white cliffs
that soar steeply over azure waters,
headed for St Mary Magdalene’s
lonely stone chapel.

I am following
in the footsteps of my father
through the serried crowds
of the Marsaxlokk fish market,
my senses flooded
with colour and odour.


Memories of Malta

I am running
with my best friends
through the megalithic stone ruins
of Hagar Qim
during the best school excursion
I can recall.

I am writing
amid spectacular architecture
at an outdoor café in Valetta
about the monochrome medieval
history of the Knights

I am entering
the old, walled capital,
Mdina, through its imposing,
lion-guarded gate
during a fascinating field trip
for my history degree.

I am peering
up at the enormous dome
at Mosta Basilica, wondering
what manner of complex physics
allowed a Luftwaffe bomb to crash
land amid a congregation but not explode.


Memories of Malta

I am listening
to the thunderous applause
of my fellow air travellers
aboard a passenger plane
recently landed on a runway
at Malta International Airport.