It goes like this: our reservations die with the daylight. We just watched Brokeback Mountain and fuck was it sad. Like, not just one-of-them-dies sad, but pain-sours-them-into-their-worst-selves sad, and Ennis-can’t-stand-being-seen-but-he-craves-it-so-bad-it-kills-him sad.
That’s why car conversations feel the way they do, I think, the being seen metaphorically— you know, the seeing swapped for white-black-white-black road-lines stacking ad infinitum and desperate sweeps over cornfields like one Midwest sea isn’t them all. And the way the car looks like it’s taking up the whole road from the inside.
Anyway, yeah, there’s something special about looking away. About, like, listening too hard to someone’s voice and hearing it go brittle to the smell of gasoline and ring of stale coffee left in the cupholder, sour-sweet, while you imagine up expressions. Maybe I turn my head to peek while begging you not to look back, not to see me. I guess what we’re learning here is that being vulnerable turns us into Eurydice.
And if we go with that metaphor, right, then you’re Orpheus. You doom me. I doom you. Right? But the whole thing is why he looked. Because he didn’t trust the gods or trust her or because he loved her, because he loved her. I doom you. It goes like this, where I stare at the cigarette ashes in the stale coffee because I don’t smoke and you stare at the gardenia air freshener with this expression like you want to say something and I know it because I keep looking.
Jack Apollo Hartley (@jackpollyharts) is a bi trans poet and writer who loves to cry over two-thousand-year-old stories. His works can be found in perhappened mag, Southchild Lit, opia mag, and other lovely places.