Like You Were There

Ocyptamus fascipennis syrphid fly

It was like you were the there, one table away to my back; I noticed you in the mirror: sitting up straight, long finger outstretched pointing to your point, the waiter nodding, over eager to please you as if he were there to remind me of a former self. I wanted to see your face, to forsake that oblique angle you had taken in your seat and in my memory, but you bent over to the side, to fetch something from your bag — it was a book, and why would it be anything else — and you further obscured yourself, your small back and the relative broadness of your shoulders giving way to the unfamiliar, naked delicateness of your neck. I swore you had had long hair; I swore I had known you; I swore against my myself, against my memory, and as it happens, life itself. You were buried in your book in the mirror; and you ate your soup and salad at a slow pace. I looked up and my waitress had her hand outstretched to my puzzlement. Was there anything else I could do for you, was the perfect question except for a lack of a definite answer, except it was the waitress pushing her hand forward, encouraging me to take it. And so I did, as the known of us do. I paid my bill. The mirror was empty; I turned around to find your seat empty, your tip resting in peace on the table. I thought about running out the door to find you, for one chance to see you, to ignite the invisible light, but I walked out instead.  The air was cold, and I tried to remember what was to come next.

Ocyptamus fascipennis syrphid fly


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