They Move in Parabolic Arcs

Perhaps itís because I maneuver unapologetically that other drivers give me a wide berth. In the winter, the edge of my plow scores curbstone, and pops mailboxes. Homeowners find black chunks in spring when the snow melts. The hardware stores within a twenty mile radius of my trailer stock extra cold patch and wooden posts.

A woman once asked me the time. When I opened my mouth to tell her, she looked away, then stepped back toward the kiosk. I moved forward and she moved backward, fingers fluttering nervously among a spread of cheap sunglasses. Her heels snapped between the soiled bars of a gutter, and she fell on her ass. The man in the chair warned me with his eyes, but even he was unsure. The chair teetered as if occupied by an anxious child. Further down, at the hot dog vendor, I glanced back to see the chairís rubber nubs kiss the asphalt. I bought two long dogs with extra onions. The vendor never tells me to come again, but I do.

On the sidewalk, I consider their geometry and my own. They live roundabout. I believe the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The bums, with their scraggly beards and mouthwash bottles, would agree. I breeze past them, close enough to smell traces of alcohol between peppermint and urine, and they start.

ďWhatís that?Ē

Theyíre always confused. Their eyes arenít used to seeing someone so close. Itís like seeing the moon for the first time. All they can think to do is howl, or sleep.

End