Our Respective Squares

by James King

We are surprised to find each other from
so far away. On the rooftop across from mine,

she waters her planter boxes. Tonight we have
brown clouds; tomorrow it might rain. Her tomatoes

quiver in anticipation. On my own rooftop
I wave to her from behind the chain-link fence. Yes,

my building has a fence on the roof. It is to stop
people from jumping; the sidewalks below don’t

need another pop of color. Even those that want to die
are too lazy to climb. I don’t know. I think we are both

surprised that from here, we might believe
that the earth is flat; the world does not seem

to curve away from us in either direction. I think
we are both surprised, day after day, to come back

to our respective rooftops and find the other there
backlit by a wobbling sun. I think we are afraid

of the day when we come to the roof and find
that we’re not alone together. Tomorrow her tomatoes

might grow to completion and be plucked straight
from the vine. Tomorrow, they might take down my fence.

Nothing is guaranteed; not our smudgy asterisks of color,
our fruits, our human outlines. Not the height of these

buildings or the height of our eyes looking out
at dusk. No, not even the shape of the world.

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