Sitting alone in the back of a car,
blushing pink neon through the safety of dark,
I imagine running a single finger
along the right angle of this boy’s jaw.
At the few stars that littered the polluted night,
I sit, stare, and wonder if resignation is a
simple solution to castles built in the sky,
those castles with balconies to behold
the tarred tributaries below,
far from the citizen stains that
spread slow, spread thick, spread deep.
Those obscure castles with music,
distorted from the distance,
notes tumbling toward the ground that
could be any tune, a song as fuzzy
as the ONRKD without sight correction,
a vibrating horizon of refinery smog sunrises.
Castles with thresholds no closer to the crown
unless in possession of gold keys to top floor suites.
My mind no closer to stillness when the bass,
buzzing, humming, reverberates my insides.
My finger no closer to that boy’s sharp edges,
and not closer still is the evening ending when
the car rounds a corner further from the bailey
and into a neighborhood that reminds everyone
of their homegrown anecdotes.
Of being It, playing cops and robbers,
doctor and patient, bad guys, good guys,
ninjas and pirates, and the boy asks me,
“How did you play make-believe?” I say I was
a princess hosting tea parties for empty chairs.
Silence. I look outward again, scanning for castles,
now far from sight, replaced by rows of houses.
Each one we pass is insulated by iron bars,
but with their curtains open and their lights on,
every item glows, the titles of books on shelves vivid,
the tender leaves of a fresh fern burn fluorescent green,
their home is suddenly my home as well by way
of our newfound shared intimacy in wallpaper styles,
keys hung inside by front doors, feet propped on stools.
I am too close to their bright white-yellow window glow,
fitted tightly by the darkness that surrounds its edges,
to not feel the compounded vulnerability of every dweller.
If I pressed my hand to their glass, with their clear music
and their bodies near, I would be closer to them than
I am to the body of the boy I want to touch,
but don’t know how to ask without desperation.
As deeply a desire to connect is a desire to push away,
a longing to be a watcher of those open windows is
a longing to be a watcher from the tower of the castle.
The boy places his arms behind his head.
Each streetlight we pass illuminates the car and
near his elbow, crested over muscle, is a
birthmark the shape of a skeleton key.
As close as we are we are apart, and I realize
that resignation requires energy and I’m too tired to sleep.
My fingers drum as he hums softly. I crack the window,
placing my head near the opening, hoping to drown
the sounds in my head with its low whirr. Still, I wonder
what he looks like when exposed in the sun, and, if given
the chance, would I hold my gaze if standing face-to-face?