Interlocked, Roma Parikh
Everyone I want to love is knuckle-distance
away on a map the size of my hand. We are
fingertips on opposite sides of glass,
telephonic voices in adjacent time zones—
it’s all too far for me. The airplane leaves
a trail of chalk in the sky. In seat A,
my arm touches the stranger in B,
nothing but trust between travelers. If this bird
should crash, oxygen masks in hand, we’d collapse
into one bone-mangled mass of mixed remains, my
clavicle nudged into his skull,
packed into each other like salmon
who met moments before death in a net.
In a city below, a sardine-can elevator is at max cap
with garlic-breath cologne-scented men in suits,
with their briefcases and brief statements, twelve-second
conversations and naked hand-grazes.
I am stocked full, pantry-stacked, hard-boiled
inside aircraft walls, a soundproof eggshell.
My brother, alone in his room, rolls a blue marble
over a desktop map. The space we have left grows
slimmer. Soon I’ll be measuring highway miles with my
fingers, counting towns, adjusting the rear view mirror.
The cracks in my shell build themselves stiches.
See, the difference between
one missed cross-hatch and a crossroad
in the atom paused and muted
where his marble hits the floor,