Northern Heading – by Elizabeth Coletti

After everything that did not happen, you
still send me photos from all the cities
you visit.

Above my desk, I tape metal café tables
teetering streetside in black and white,
the lens flecked with blurs of cold French
rain to freckle on skin that once touched
mine. In polaroid haze, Chicago’s bean
mirrors a ragged skyline and I can’t find
your reflection anywhere amid those
warped and nameless faces. At a market
in Taipei, lanterns string red heartbeats
across the wide angle, golden tassels
giving better welcomes and your viewfinder
eyes always too fleeting of a guest.

I gather pushpins to track your travels
but, failing to find a suitable paper
map, plant patterns across my scalp:
your visit to Blenheim a stake in my
cerebral cortex, Queenstown needled
on the vein behind my ear, until I am
a testament to everywhere you’ve been
but next to me. I delude myself I could
make my head a globe you would
take flight to explore, my eyebrows
a poor excuse for arching mountain
ranges and my chin the Antarctic
pole, a place no one would ever go
to except to say they’d been.

Elizabeth ColettiElizabeth Coletti is an editor and master’s student at Arizona State University. She is a recipient of the Louis D. Rubin Jr. Prize in Fiction and a finalist for the James Hurst Prize for Fiction, and her prose and poetry has appeared in the Pomona Valley Review, Cellar Door literary magazine, and elsewhere.