While Waiting in Line to Vote
When I step outside, I’m surprised
to see faces swimming in front
of me, heads tipped
towards the raspy sunlight. I thought
I had forgotten how they looked.
I thought I had forgotten their voices,
prancing and soaring, a symphony
locked into a swelling wave.
The woman ahead of me, a ballerina,
mask pulled over her reddened nose,
feet swaying in sync. She speaks,
and I hear nothing at first,
then everything. Her friend
works with an organization in India.
How the monsoons sweep in
and ripple the cities, carefully,
as if they had rehearsed a routine.
Destruction that trickles down
contagious. What I’m thinking of
is how much color it stripped away.
How much green we’ve swept,
choked up, packed into cupboards
until dust swallows it.
How many faces we’ve unlearned.
Eyes, eyebrows, the bridge of the nose.
Constellations to chart
and pinpoint, to stargaze
in the dark, where nobody seems
to exist. Behind me,
the fountain spits out water,
trembling under the hands
of a small girl. I turn, watch
the two. They seem like
a separate species, fluid,
a stream of pearl
joined by a tiny brown hand.
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