>note to myself, or engine ends you


I see this textbook blonde walking by the front window of the cafe I’m sitting in. Tall, rail thin, slightly upturned nose, her honey-colored hair hiding her ears and perfectly framing her just-so face my eyes drawn down her body to a gorgeous round ass. Tight sweat pants. Always sweat pants. She disappears from the window, walking to the cafe door. I stare at the light radiating off the laptop screen at my table, pretending to think of something other than her as though someone else would read my thoughts, judge my shallow obsession, my wasteful attraction. I count from 1 to 10 and then casually — there is nothing casual about this, don’t fool yourself — crane my neck like some great unlubricated, lumbering machine that survives only on the sweat-heavy labor of hundreds of strong calloused men with too much blood to give, and even then, on occasion, the machine malfunctions and ends some family’s boring weekend — glance to my left, lead a bit with the forehead and eyebrows. Eyes track from the tan tile floor sweep up towards what I expect to be, when like a train whistle you hear the moment before the [stretch out that moment … twittering birds light off a maple; bambi hops through cool tall grass; a hunter, miles off, slowly raises his rifle places the butt into the crook of his shoulder looks down through the iron sights] engine ends you. Blackness. Two glass green eyes, pulled from a kiln slice up — as if mimicking mine in a mirror — from the tan tile floor, chopping my vision in two. I’m suffocating — the machinery is there and ready to work, but the night crew is trying to send a message to middle management — I blink she doesn’t disappear and I’m still unable to breath. I must remember to breathe, turn toward the laptop in front of me to compose my thoughts, blink. Inhale. Swing the great machine — casually — left again. She’s gone.