To Tashkent

Lady in seat 19E, you didn’t know
I was watching but I was, secretly.
Was it your first time flying?

It certainly seemed like it
the way you smiled the whole time
and fumbled with your seatbelt

and asked for both coffee and wine
as the sour-faced stewardess
rolled by. When they announced

our descent your eyes were glued
to the oblong of dark sky, transfixed
by pixelations from the ground.

I watched, if only with my side eye.
Even as grown ups I don’t think
we’ll ever get tired of it; the feeling

of being in the thick of things.
In a world up above where we
tessellate till our bodies meet

all we dream of is the landing.
And when we finally touched down
you clapped! You were only one

and you didn’t seem to care at all.
My ghosting hands felt the
phantom slap as we left for transit

me in my world-weary way
you onwards to maybe, definitely,
your second flight ever to Tashkent.

See, pure passenger, you can almost
taste the ash on your lip as you go on
to be sullied by an earth without wonder.

Heavenly bodies are like two ships sailing,
two trees kissing, two strangers passing,
an Agnus Dei prayer up in the air.

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