Sitting behind this young woman on the bus is like sifting through her underwear drawer. I know the entire universe beyond the immediate realm of her forward-facing vision does not exist. Her single-minded confidence surrounds her in a careful awareness of the glancing attention
to her face,
to her breasts,
to her ever-so-slightly exposed abdomen
and yet leaves her with a complete blindness to eyes
on the nape of her neck,
on her split ends,
on the soft backs of her knees.
This seat, just inches behind her, is in Schrödinger’s box, and I will only exist at the turn of her head.
My access to her is gained as easily as breathing.
The slivered edges of her expressions,
the way she conducts her hands through space as she speaks,
her guttural pronunciations,
the perfumed sweat of her overly processed hair.
Every intimacy divulged to my senses in an unconscious dance.
I encompass her in an instant, and suddenly even the sun on her bare shoulder blades strikes me as a violation. I can count her perfectly round freckles, and she doesn’t know I am there.
The trees passing her by are reflected in the parallel lines of her clear bra straps, an apparent attempt at discretion utterly discredited by the simple fact that she is wearing a halter top.
It is so easy to judge someone from behind. Doesn’t she know?
She inclines her head against the window beside her. She is singing softly. It sounds like a lullaby, but I don’t speak German so all I am sure of is that she is not singing 99 red balloons.
Her voice is carried back to me on the chemical scent of her lip-gloss. She must feel that it exists only for her in the crystal vacuum of the world. The glass she entrusts with her unobtrusive rest betrays her and delivers the vibrations of her breath to the rapt attention of my ear.
I watch her push her hair out of her face, a glimpse of rounded cheekbones, a fleck of mascara, a tiny moment of her.
Soon she will be gone, and I will not know the color of her eyes.
Language is a series of symbols,
a series of tubes,
a tube of toothpaste,
a cavity to be filled.
Momeraths outgrabing a jabberw...