| words that get in your teeth

A Stranger’s Favourite Song by Caitlin Mundy

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I’m dancing to a song on the radio
I’ve never heard before. It was requested
by Jordan, for Lisa
because it’s your favourite song
to dance to.

I’m wondering if she’s ever danced to mine.
Or if she’s ever even heard it.
Where she is right now.
Is she dancing too?

      I know only her name
      and favourite song,
      but right now,
      dancing alone in my kitchen,
      the light of her shines
      through this tiny crack formed
      in the wall between our lives.
      And I know her.

Because isn’t that all knowing someone
really is? Seeing a small piece of their soul,
that unfathomable connection.
The bridging of the gap
between your world and theirs,
if only for a moment.

I know someone
when we laugh at the same joke,
when their arms consume me,
when they let me read their poem.
I know them when I hear them
singing in the shower,
when, without speaking, we both
cross the road to be closer to the dog
on the other side,
when they tell me what they would
have said to the asshole who cut
them off in line if only they had thought
of it sooner.

In these moments,
I know them like I know
sunshine on bare skin
after a winter tucked
beneath layers.
I know them
like I know the dragging
of time from 4 am to finally asleep,
when the world feels silent of life.
Like I know drunk and in love,
like I know hair-flying-head-in-any-
direction-alone-in-a-foreign-country
motorbike drives. Like I know
can’t-find-the-air-can’t-remember-
what-wanting-feels-like-why-
am-I-even-here panic attacks.
Sometimes, I know someone
like I know birds flying
south, like I know rainbows
after the storm, like I know
my own toothbrush.

      But do I still know them after
      they hang up the phone, walk
      around the corner,
      when they become
      whoever it is they are
      when they aren’t with me?

Caitlin (she/her) is a Canadian poet, traveller, and recent graduate of mathematics. In the summers you can find her planting trees in the north, and dreaming up new adventures to have. Other work is published or upcoming in Global Poemic and Anti-Heroin Chic. Check out her instagram @caitlin.mundy.

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