Thank you for the book,
I would have read it on the plane
but it was cold and I had
hands to sit on. I sleep
even less on planes than I do
at my family’s house.

Have I ever told you about
the way the numbness starts
in my hips and crawls down my thighs
like paralysis? This plane is full
of young people with small children
and old people with small dogs. We are
on our way to New York, but who knows where

we will each end up. My money is on
the grave. The pilot
gives his spiel, says, Better go ahead 
and pick your favorite child! and thanks us
for pretending to pay attention
to the attendant who is smiling and swinging
an oxygen mask by its orange spiral cord.

An hour in, my neighbor puts away
his laptop and begins to read
the safety pamphlet and for a second
I forget that my knees will feel like
medieval morning stars
when we land. When I’m in a Lyft and anxious
I can look out the window and talk

to myself like a mother
to a toddler: See here, now,
wasn’t that fun? Did you see that man
on his bike eating ice cream?

A different voice, like a kiss
on the temple: Remember

the valleys of dunes like dimples
in the sand, teaching you
which cheek to kiss and when, how
to ask my grandmother for more
muhammara? Remember
holding hands and looking down until both
my legs lost feeling too? Lie

awake, cool your head
against the dark window. We are not passing
through, merely over.

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