49. kanyakumari

the women on the train tie their saris
like swings and lay their babies inside of them,
gently rocking them like a swaying forest of cotton

we snake up the coast for fourteen hours of railroad tracks,
and I have to stop to take it in, every minute,
and I know that I’ve been doing that a lot lately,
I just get nervous,
because we are miles away from the football lights
and Edelweisses
and I’m sorry that I say “and” so much
but I don’t want to run out of words
because most of all I am afraid

that when I blink awake in the morning,
I will still be the freckled little girl
who asked for an atlas for Christmas
who quietly reminds herself
that there are places bigger than a backyard,
who was always
looking too long out of windows.

But yesterday we stood
at the bottom of a continent
and saw three seas come together,
and if I squint hard enough at the photographs,
will I remember the whisper of heat
on my shoulders,
or will it all have been a dream?

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