I see my father look both ways before crossing the street

I see my father look both ways before crossing the street

I see my father look both ways before crossing the street 1920 1440 Karthik Sethuraman

every dream is the same dream
at first touch we are ourselves
on the other side of the train
ten paces from the foothills
stopped to smell the jasmine
bent over the tarnished fence

what impossible effort
to arrive here in our sleep

our lips green inside like
we’ve forgotten ourselves in
the glove compartment

the crossing guard has a
cigarette in her mouth
is missing her littlest finger
in the reflection she shepherds
us into the playground

when we separate our nails catch
on our sleeves and we pull at the
inseams in our promises

what abundance of caution
we share if the sky faintly
flashes we freeze if the
crossing guard extinguishes
her smoke we disintegrate

our remembrance is tidy and
well-proportioned like the
mahogany gate ziptied to
the stairwell like our cat
peeking through the
openings

can we remain unglued if
someone calls us on the
other line can we keep our
faith in who we cannot reach

the crossing guard waves
she knows she will find us
tomorrow at the same
juncture hand in hand

off her shoulders a ladybug
leaps and sprouts pistils
glistens into the pavement
whispering take care
be safe

words we want
but cannot speak
to ourselves

Header photograph © Elle Danbury.

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