Garage

Maybe it would be better if humans had cat eyes that could reflect when a light shines on them. Little pearlescent ovals, there in the darkness.

I live in a world where I own a garage, and in the garage there is a person I don’t know, waiting for me. The person has a 401(k) but doesn’t know what it means. In their head, they read it as “Four oh one, kay?” I know this because I do the same. John Jacob Jingleheimer-Schmidt? Is that you?

This person has a damp, stained purple rag in their right hand, a present for me. On their mouth is a stain, too. Of convenience store, cherry-red slush.

It is April and I am moments from it now. There is an odd breeze flowing through the still-dead husks of oak leaves leftover from winter, just behind me.

If humans had cat eyes I would open the garage door and see this person’s gaze reflecting against the soft light from the streetlamp. If I saw them, I might freeze for a moment. I might stop and reflect on the state of things — on the weather — on how content I might be feeling — whether what I have eaten agrees with me — whether I have a runny nose.

But then? What? I would know what it means, to be there, to see those deep-sea eyes hovering blindly where they are, just in the corner, unblinking; I wasn’t born yesterday. I would like to think that I have even lived a life fulfilled, have seen and done enough to feel content with what was about to happen. I might think that it would be time to join them, and I would close the door, shuttering their eyes and allowing them the courtesy of approaching me in a perfect stillness. I wouldn’t even scream.

Maybe it wouldn’t be better after all. Maybe it’s better how it is.

Photograph by Todd Hido, an artist I deeply admire, from his collection “Homes at Night.” Whenever it gets warm and I find myself outside at night, I can’t help but think of this collection as I roam the alleyways in search of something I don’t think exists. Consider checking out and supporting this artist.

/homeaway/

The drive home is a rabies shot, agitated,
you twitch from state line to county line
to places in between,
the coordinates slipstream daydreams —
You remember the road numbers:
145th, 194th
impossibly lengthy, made of pulverized
bonemeal and crunch coat,
those steel-cut graveled byways

You remember the inhabitants
rendered from bacon fat and ham hock
tourniquets and night shift salt licks
Or those pubertied boys and their
percussion kits behind the old band shell,
blasting canonfire flams back there
on Thursday nights, before the
sweating, stinking performance

of pops classics, patriotica,
the flags swatting the air,
or was that the yellowed sheet
music, free from clothespin
bondage?

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