Familiarity

By Isabelle McNeur

It’s 3 in the afternoon
and the sun is glinting off of buildings
in a way that doesn’t happen at home.
There’s a girl on the other side of the street.
She’s got long legs and a shaved head
and she looks over when I do.

There’s an unspoken solidarity in
seeing someone on the street
and picking up a vibe.

It’s not the shaved head that does it,
or anything she’s wearing.
Sometimes you look at someone
and you just know.

It feels like kinship, almost:
that flash of recognition,
of comfort, like being in a foreign country
and overhearing someone speak in your mother tongue.
It feels like this, almost: Hello,
me too.

Our eyes meet and stick
as we head in opposite directions,
our gaze turning knowing and warm
like friends sharing an inside joke.

Neither of us slow down
but our smiles come at the same time:
strangers in a foreign country
speaking the same language.

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