When I was young, my friend said, I have a geographical tongue –
and opened wide to let me examine

a map cracked deep into pink sponge, roads
laid out in the whale-belly of her mouth.

At the same time, my fingers would go numb, turn white.
I rubbed them like I was referring to money or playing castanets.

The doctor said hers was a slight
anomaly, but mine meant a lifetime of thumbing along the road.

We were eight years old. So we climbed
the nearest tree and sat under the rib cage of sky.

She with the map
and I.