I saw you today at a blind intersection. Knew it was you from the smoke sign snaking out the window of your canary-yellow SUV at 6 a.m.
A borrowed car from a borrowed life. You — never a fan of sports, or yellow, not utilitarian in any sense of the word. Still a sign — like an ancient Indian signal of war.
I pull up behind, so close I see you in the side-view, expelling twin columns of nicotine from your nose.
You glance back but can’t see me in a minivan—a vessel meant for carrying children. In fact, you never could.
You don’t recognize me hidden under glasses not meant for sight but to deflect the glare of things too bright to bear.
You hang your arm out the window, I recognize the Sanskrit burnt into the meat of your forearm. You still advertise it— black cuffs rolled up — as if you’re back in 1990 San Francisco and not some boy from Alabama biting back an accent as deep and southern as pecan pie.
You told me it symbolized virtue over vice. But symbolism was never your strong suit, just something you tried on and off again like clothes.
A cigarette hangs from your hand that still bears too many rings for a man. They glint in the sun as you drum the door, impatient for the red light to go green.
I remember those fingers — small, stubby things that never stopped probing for openings not meant to be found.
Then the traffic light changes, sending us our separate ways. Your glasses glint in the rear-view, looking back one last time as if searching for something forgotten—something lost in the glare of sunrise on windshield.