Henry Wainhouse
Elementary School Teacher
New York

Illustration by
Miho Tomimasu

Time Spot

I was twenty-five then, you’ll say, your future self staring back from the space of a time spot, counting change, wincing watching you

look at yourself too hard in the mirror those many times you were alone, collapsing into your own arms like an accordion.

Being scared seeing Mom get old. Smoking a cigarette. Yearning for those who meant the most. Somehow missing the edge every time.

From your future perch – somewhere between a raft and a crow’s nest – you shift back and forth, a crouch and a stand, too far from ease to sit.

Your lost loves surround you – crowded like a party - feeling some comfort in the company of you, of each other, but mostly not there, skipping stones,

watching the clock, complaining to one another about your shoes, asking for directions back home. You manage a smile through it, mostly ok,

maybe some comfort to watch yourself get hurt and know what becomes next, jammed in this partial knowledge that even as the time spot begins to fade,

you’ll wonder if you’re less now than before, more then or after: a rapture while still trying to catch someone’s eye, you’re fixated by yourself.

Henry Wainhouse