Coordinates

“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.



Janee J. Baugher's picture

ABOUT THE POET ~
Janée J. Baugher, a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and Bread Loaf Conference participant, holds a B.S. in Applied Physiology from Boston University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University. A former poetry editor for Willow Springs magazine and Switched-on Gutenberg online journal, Baugher is an associate editor for StringTown magazine (Spokane, WA). Baugher regularly collaborates with visual artists, composers, and choreographers, with recent collaborations having been produced at University of Cincinnati–Conservatory of Music, Interlochen Center for the Arts (Interlochen, MI), and Dance Now! Ensemble (Miami Beach, FL). Baugher is the author of the collection of ekphrastic and travel poems, Coördinates of Yes (Ahadada Books), and in 2011 she presented her work at the Library of Congress. Her current projects include a collection of water-themed lyric essays and a collection of human-anatomy-physiology-influenced poems. Baugher lives in Seattle where she teaches Creative Writing and Literature at Richard Hugo House and University of Phoenix. For more information, visit: http://JaneeJBaugher.wordpress.com.

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