In Which I Encounter Dr. Strange

estranged from flesh, floating 

upside down to go forward the way 

time turns into itself the way a person turns 

into themself and returns 

through themself to the future. The ocean’s ocean, time. 

Stephen, why are your hands turned 

up? Why are your hands so precious? When I reach 

the end of my long wavelength, 

what will I see?  From where you float 

up like a cloud hiding from the sun, like a thought 

that has not popped, like a balloon heart, loosed, 

knocking against the ribs 

of a drugstore, useless and free, Stephen, 

do you ever get tired of being 

so wise? Floating there in the astral stretch 

of elsewhere that is all the space between two molecules 

in a tail of a blue whale above 

the deepest Pacific cut, in a warm Pacific sleep,  is you, 

Stephen Strange; how much space 

can you escape from, hanging

there, in the aether’s aether, like painting.  I could pick 

you up while you thought 

your thoughts, I could set you on a wall 

next to a mirror to watch you 

watch yourself think. Darkness is place 

your hands and my hands know; we used 

to share a name.

Cassandra Whitaker is a non-binary/trans writer from the rural south. Their work has been published in Up The Staircase Quarterly and The Tishman Review, among other places.

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