I measure our degrees of separation by rivers and roads. A band called The Head and the Heart wrote a song about it once. Rivers ‘til I reach you. Lately I’ve taken to compartmentalizing the vacancy between our bodies. There’s a special sort of math to it, I think. 200-something miles. A handful of state lines to cross. Six hours if you don’t stop, five and some if you ignore the speed limit, seven if you brave the rush hour. Multiply that by however many fatal accidents you stumble upon or if your GPS decides to reroute your car for something called scenic view.

What do you get? Too many, too much. Too many worlds between worlds. Think of all the bodies between ours right now. Couples sleeping soundly in beds they share. Cows grazing by red barns, standing as still as a pastoral postcard. Somewhere a baby throws spaghetti noodles at the wall with thick fists. A tired mother cleans it up. And in another place an old man puts out the fire. It’s getting late. He’s lived alone for years now. No one tries to measure the distance to reach him anymore.

Rivers and roads, rivers and roads, rivers ‘til I reach you.

If you were to connect all of these separate places like constellations in the night sky, you’d make a bridge steady enough to walk across. And according to my calculations, we’re closer than we think. At least I think so. We’re tethered together by limitations. By rivers and roads and mothers kissing their babies goodnight. Goodnight. Do you feel that? I feel it too.

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