Peter Pan and the Pledge of Allegiance

I wanted to sew my shadow to the sole of my foot,
little beads of blood at the base of neat hemming stitches.
Not because I was afraid of separation.

I wanted this necessity.
I wanted something
strange and familiar.

I look down and it too is flicking a page,
a tangle of hair bobbing
just slightly in the air-conditioning.

I want to know you,
and I want you
to be unknowable.

I am the others [the pretty, cheaply-scented girls with neat, compact
calves, the gaunt boys with long, elegant fingers blunted with calluses].
I contain them I and strain to touch their separateness.

There is a knowledge
I can only get by brushing
your arm on accident.

It’s like we’re all reciting
the pledge of allegiance,
divisible like the moon,
like the face of the clock,

solemnly pronouncing
our indivisibility.

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