After a long day, you’d think we’d drag our feet.
But we’re all elbows, jostling to catch the next bus home.
The boy and girl embracing near the stairs
aren’t in any hurry. Their stillness makes them central.
He is tall and gangly. She, stretching upward
to meet his gaze, one of Modigliani’s models,
impossibly long-necked and graceful. The crowd swirls
and eddies around them, the single-mindedness of water.
Neither is saying anything and I want to lie down
in their silence, shelter from the collision of voices,
sizzle of cellular transmission. Just then
the girl’s hands scribe the air, flicker like chickadees
and he responds, finger-spelling the words
between them, the body’s tones and inflections,
pursed lips, raised eyebrow. Something I remember
reading about Berryman, his secret hope
to be visited by physical disability—Milton’s blindness,
Beethoven’s loss of hearing. The fortunate affliction
that would rescue him from the machinery of living
day-to-day and bring him to his senses. If they could hear,
would the boy and girl still reach that other place
I yearn for? Looking into her eyes, the boy loses his balance.
They can hardly pay attention to what their hands are saying.