He said there are no straight lines
in nature. Trees curve, tomato stalks give
under the weight of their fruit, fingers
never point perfectly. He holds a book,
we listen, carry on studying how to keep the engine running.

A woman with a cityscape tattooed
on each shoulder stood in front of me
in line for the washroom. I rushed
to follow her. Layers of buildings ground floors fading
into top floors soft parts autumn pale.
That landscape that tilts heads back
downtown, a contrast serving to captivate here too.

We know trailing blackberries and quarter moons:
in between, power lines connect telephone poles,
orchestrated by our small yielding bodies. Straightening
city grids and farmland
so we are forgetful on airplanes
of the fact that we’re on airplanes.

Office towers cut the air into illuminated
boxes. We are building more and I can’t stop
staring. Men in harnesses dangling from cross bars
a world away. Still on the sidewalk,
gasoline sounds filling around me,
strangers painting another layer of city atop the sky.

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Sam Sternberg is studying to be a librarian.