Child Reaching For Maps On a Bus

She was three, maybe four years old, ages away from maps

and schedules, timers set to govern how late or lost she’d become,

how partially found among hours that went by dark and undiscovered.

 

However, her touch mechanism was already fully formed, activated

at birth—the rest of her life would be fine tuning the handicap of pulling

back, withholding, finally touching only the part that was once hidden in

 

the overcast of a newborn’s brain. Oh, they could’ve been anything—

guides to something historic like a birthplace, battlefield or prison, maybe

brochures of a theme park. The reach was toward many of the same,

 

what she’d later call a sense of security, no memory of this early impulse,

that primitive version of truth we don’t have to think about but do now.

I set my alarm for that moment some nights, some nights negotiating

 

an uneasy peace with what I’ve touched too long, too much. Arrivals.

Departures. I miss their quick kiss. I wish for that rural strip of air where

my eyes first took off, their hands full of time and place. I want them

 

circling my bedroom with all the colors, to watch while they invent

themselves, approach the black and white of my parent’s radar like

a balloon held up to the sun by its own fire.

George Bishop’s latest work appears in New Plains Review & Border Crossing. New work will be included in Melusine and The Penwood Review. Bishop is the author of four chapbooks, most recently “Old Machinery” from Aldrich Publishing. He attended Rutgers University and now lives and writes in Kissimmee, Florida.