by Janee J. Baugher
“The love I’ve known is the love of/ two people staring/
not at each other, but in the same direction.”
(from Frank Bidart’s poem, To the Dead)
I. 45° Latitude, 86° Longitude
“You’re facing away,” the sleepy voice came from behind me. “But we’re facing the same way.” He reaches under the blanket to tug at my arm. I turn. “Your nose is cold,” he says. People must face opposite directions to reach the mouth. Hands to tilt the head for a sidelong dive. Two concaves form a continuous open space, an ecstatic chasm – two screams conjoined.
II. Interstates 37, 10, 80
He drives east, hunched over the wheel of his 1993 Honda. Spectacles slip down the nose’s bridge. Both hands on the wheel, four tires spinning under their carriage. The cassette deck plays Woody Guthrie or Neil Young. Although we’ve gone in opposite directions, at this moment, we know where the other is.
III. Thirty-thousand Feet
A stranger, a diligent reader, sits next to me on flight 1105 to Seattle. We passengers face forward. Below: glacier lakes, snow, the tree-line, and Mt. Baker in the distance. I stare out the window, and perhaps he is too, as our world tears past. We continue this way until we each get where we’re going. But for now, while traveling, he and I regard the same sky and its ugly, cold sun.