Whenever we were out on the dance floor, I always looked at your face, while you looked downward, inward, at something I couldn’t see. Your arms were flexing, moving. The music swelled and contracted. What were you dreaming? I was trying to get you to look at me while you were probably wanting me to stop. Don’t you have someone else to look at? Must I be Pharoah to you? But I think you needed me to look at you, even though you never let on with a gesture. You needed my looking to hold you in place, just as I needed your non-looking to do the same for me. What if you had lifted your face and met my gaze? Would the glass in the windows have blown out? Would we have lasted sixteen years?
Paul Lisicky is the author of five books including THE NARROW DOOR, UNBUILT PROJECTS, and THE BURNING HOUSE. His work has appeared in THE ATLANTIC, BUZZFEED, CONJUNCTIONS, FENCE, THE OFFING, PLOUGHSHARES, TIN HOUSE, and elsewhere. A 2016 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, his awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the James Michener/Copernicus Society, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He teaches in the MFA Program at Rutgers University, Camden.