WE ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT ALREADY LATE FOR OUR FLIGHT,
& you understand how anxious this makes me,
how every time we travel together i know no
greater fear than my hands being left in their
homeland, but when you find a pigeon trapped
inside the airport—batting against the windows
like clockwork, peach-soft, desperate—you
insist we stop anyway to help it find its way
out. somehow i love you all the more for this.
we rush into our terminal ten minutes before
takeoff & the woman at the gate looks at our
faces & laughs instead of screaming, ushers us
onto the skybridge, & for once i feel we might
actually land on time, like i might actually be
good at something more than running. we settle
into our seats. around us the passengers stare,
grumble, but still i take my meds & tell you
my favourite ocean is the sky, & you reply if
only you could know what it’s like to be next
to you, kiss my forehead & take out your
hearing aids & rearrange your limbs to fit on
the plane wing. meanwhile i try to breathe,
try to rewrite myself as girl or as bird but not
as reason for everything that’s ever gone wrong.
meanwhile i’ve checked three times & both
of us still have our passports & you can’t hear
the flight attendants telling us to put on our
own oxygen masks before helping others so i
listen for the both of us. when you fall asleep
on my shoulder your skin is a kind of pirouette.
& below us the world, & above us the rescued
hands, & in between your heart & my heart
look like the same heart from this high up.
Topaz Winters is the author of three collections of poetry (most recently Portrait of My Body as a Crime I’m Still Committing, a finalist in the Broken River & Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prizes) & editor-in-chief of the arts organization Half Mystic. Her peer-reviewed research on poetry, identity, & queerness in Singapore is published in the Journal of Homosexuality & is taught at the University of Southern California’s doctorate program in educational leadership. She has been published in Sundog Lit, DIALOGIST, & Tinderbox Poetry Journal; profiled by The Straits Times, The Business Times, & Entropy; commended by Singapore’s National Arts Council, Vocal Media, & Button Poetry; & featured at the Boston Poetry Slam, the Singapore Writers Festival, & the Other Tongues Literary Festival.