I’m almost sure I hear
before we leave the ground
the man in the seat ahead of mine
enunciate the name
“Plutarch” on his cell phone.
Perhaps a classicist?
Possibly a professor
at the university
in the city we
are flying toward this January noon.
Maybe he knew my brother,
who taught here. Maybe he
studied in his youth
with my Plutarch-loving father.
Nothing would be more likely.
The world shrinks steadily,
or time, turned palpable,
pulls people toward each other.
As we file down the aisle,
I could easily speak to him.
Feebly or discreetly
or for some other reason,
I let the moment go,
and we get off the plane.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 27 Number 6, on page 32
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