It’s normal to see only darkness
when you look out an airplane window
on a winter evening. It’s normal
to think about pulling away and shrinking
closer to yourself when your neighbor
bumps your elbow.
I have nearly always flinched
at physical contact; it is hard
to touch anyone and feel
welcome or safe from foreign
elements of breath and heartbeat.
When you’re sitting next to me I want
to touch you—I dream about the stars
over your house, the light on your porch,
what it would be like to walk past
the rose bush in your front yard to meet
your eyes lit by the secrets and darkness
of fear; in that dream I’m scared
but unafraid of leaning in, holding
my thumb to your cheek and listening
to my body fight my desire to be close to you.
In my peripherals,
I can see you moving
closer to me—sliding,
like lights on a runway,
to sit just so: your arm
touching my sleeve.
We’re not watching
the flight attendant,
her cool instructions
for what to do when
we plummet into
or flame, your eyes
are looking my way.
The lights fall away, as they always do
when you’re flying.
I can see where we were last time we took off—
I mean, we might still be that—but here
in the cylinder of stillness, moving over,
to keeping me near your burning
I know that we have
taken off and are between
cities—we are awake
in the air—and all I can see
are the mixed lamps
of colliding lives below.
We are too high
to look for anything
else but light,
and we are too
close for me to pull
my arm away.