to 5

    on the 5ives




What if the things we stared at were marked somehow by the eyes that were on them? Paintings, bruises, and burned-out husks would be all around us. The wall behind the recently uprighted radiator would be soft, flowery, instead of the scorch marks and melted paint that you now behold. The wall above it, though, where something should hang but doesn’t, would be livid from the porous questioning of countless wonderers of how to fill the space. Always how to fill the space. And in the back of my head, four pits, still smoking, from two girls who had taken up all the sidewalk in front of me. One lurched, it seemed purposely, into me as I, mumbling an apology, tried to slide by. Two steps more and I heard the other one say, Blah blah blah, people say excuse me. I stopped and said: But I did. There were reasons that they hadn’t heard it, and all of them weren’t mine. But I always say it.

They were giving off that same junior-high vibe of the girls I once saw descend on another, like birds, knocking her head against the side of some lockers, her prettily pouting tears feeding their hungry smiles. I kept going as they undulated behind me. I am always in a hurry, although no one else seems to see the need. I just don’t want to be stuck behind, trapped, unable to get to—

But I did say it. I did. I told them so. I could feel their eyes on me, their self-righteousness daring me to run.





magdalen powers