For Henry

I’m watching the walkers make magic with their umbrellas from six stories up. They dance circles in the rain like they’re choreographed for beauty, unconscious of their audience. The best thing about circles is how they can’t be anything other than what they are without becoming something else entirely.

On a day in a month of a year three years past, something drew me in, pulled me under your umbrella in the rain. You beckoned with kindness. You were the best parts of a dream—the parts I always forget.

I remember our slow, spiraled dance in hypotheticals: If time weren’t inflexible. If I put a halo over your head, and asked you not to change. If the close-up were the same as the long shot. If I put a ring around your finger and asked you to never cut away.

You had something and that something never wavered. It called me back again and again. I called you hysteria. You called me enchanting, like the broken majesty of a million-year-old canyon.

You helped me ease down into your expanse without falling. You wore me like water. You wore me like time.

But eventually, we both forgot the rain. How the drops blend into each other, becoming indistinguishable and insistent and finite. How water shapes, leaving what’s left stronger in its wake.

On another day, without your umbrella above me, I went walking down Myrtle Avenue. At street level, I couldn’t make out the magic, couldn’t remember what it looked like from the balcony seats.

Above this spinning chaos, the sky had opened for business. Rain stopped the world briefly to deliver its inhospitable softness. And I stood there, getting smoother at the edges.

Front page image by flatworldsedge.

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Randolph Pfaff

About the Author

Randolph Pfaff is a poet, editor, and visual artist. His work has been featured in PANK, The Destroyer, H_NGM_N, Open Letters Monthly, and SLAB, among others. He also edits a literary journal called apt and runs a small press called Aforementioned Productions. He's not very good at free time.
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