It begins like this; you and I and a seat between us and a flight delayed.
You are drinking coffee out of a takeout cup and I am reading Shakespeare
so that I can look smart to people who don’t know my name
and will never talk to me.

Hamlet? you say, and I nod, with something like an attempt at dignified
when all I am wearing is a worn out sweater
and frayed jeans.

I loved that. I have a copy at home.

Nice. I’ve always liked Shakespeare.

I grin and you smile
and we sit next to each other on the plane,
and I listen to you talk about poetry and smart things and I pretend to understand.
I think I fell in love with your mind,
because I hail a taxi while thinking of you
and when I get home I sit down and Google all the names
that I think you might have said.

I learn and I’m smarter now, and I can talk
about Romeo and Juliet without stuttering over their last names,
and I can quote The Raven to you,

but you are not here anymore.

I don’t know where I’m going with this
and what I’ll do with what I know,
but I’ll just wait for another delayed flight
and another coffee in a takeout cup
and someone who will listen when I lean over the empty space
and ask them if they are reading Hamlet.


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