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.