Like Sunday ritual – lifted respectfully
from the shelf – a heavy tea-tray of a book
opens at one familiar page, laid before me
as anatomy – Africa’s mons pubis,
South America’s flaccid hang. I trace
my finger across continents and oceans –
swirls of fingerprint glide smoothly over
mountains, forests, deserts. You are there,
less than a laser dot of ink, and I am
here, under a cross of longitude and latitude.
It’s hard to understand this distance –
how I can span my thumb to little finger
across a line that represents nothing solid –
nothing I could walk into with a bump.
A little like the time you heard yourself described
as ‘middle-aged’ and wondered when
that silent transition had taken place.
© Caroline Fox Betts 2010