You came as you usually do, yesterday: like light pulsing, never gone but always shut away from view—until unseen apertures iris open, the shutter breaking its former settings to give—no—to take its glimpse at the world around, and within, me—like the rise of a great and billowing curtain, drawn up and away, so you canook upon the stage of my life, for but a breath, from distant and shadowy box seats;You can’t watch, can’t peek, however briefly, without a partial reveal of your own.
And standing there, breathless, the last gasps of spring whispering the leaves into motion above my head, Gratz Park inhaling the birth of summer, so much like that summer, three years hence, when you appeared on my radar, just as you do now—a sudden bird of energy and remembrance and spiritual reflection, just out of view until you, until I, turn the faces of these clocks, contrariwise, to one another—hands shifting, touching, til they synchronize, again, for a breath, for one brief beat of wayward hearts—I recall.
You, sitting there, your nose and eyes in a book so that I can’t quite be sure it is even you—I recall our story like a rush of rewind, end to beginning—like all the cosmos is a finger depressing a button on some archaic VCR—until this present sensation aligns, finds parallel with that first time I shared air with you: Feeling you, before I saw you; knowing you before I’d met you; the slow-motion epiphany of a man turning in his seat to see had entered, upstage. The flood, then, and again now, as if at the first, seeing you, and in seeing you, seeing me, knowing what we were before I knew what that even might mean.
And then the mental montage gathers speed, finds momentum as it bleeds across the moments that followed moments, the years our stories would foment, together, crystallized—in ever-widening fractals—metastasizing like cells given fresh and echoing genesis—the arc within wheels, within circles, forming cycles, lifting blue and purpled petals from the trees, so that we could be, would be, what we could be or would be, but we weren’t and couldn’t hold the center or close the ritual.
But we are here, were here then, last night, again, in Gratz Park. And you opened to me—perhaps when you saw me—perhaps in your heart, because of something you read—because you were reading (or I thought you were reading; it may not have been you). And the cream of your legs and shoulders, sprinkled with nutmeg freckles, glowed in the half-shade of the trees, green above as green below. Older now, and studying, stretching, being more than before. And I wondered. I wondered if I should say something, if I could get you to look at me again, as you looked at me before, or even as you did before you turned and walked away. But I didn’t. And you didn’t answer my unspoken call. And I walked on, as I am always walking on, and drove away, as I am always driving away—your hair like the fires of another life, burning a Viking goodbye
in my rearview mirror.