Literary Orphans

Perpetual Motion Machine by Mike Moeller

 dust_by_marta-bevacqua

I.

I think it’s memory, or at least some facet of memory.

 

II.

We’re sitting here, in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York,

. . . . . at a diner at midnight, and

. . . . . just by virtue of my surroundings,

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I feel boundlessly happy.

 

 

I’ll look back on this, years

from now

. . . . . probably,

. . . . . and remember being

. . . . . happy,

 

. . . . . remember the rush of sensations that this

. . . . . dingy place inspired in me,

. . . . . and it’ll make me

. . . . . sad.

 

 

I’ll pine because I can’t ever recreate this moment,

but the fact that I

experienced it in the first place

will be enough

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . or should be enough

 

to justify the pain—

a very specific pain that’s so hard to come by because with memories it’s always the

. . . . . things that you didn’t do that cause pain:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . regret doesn’t seem to an emotion that humanity is lacking.

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . This type of pain caresses you,

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . it invites you to experience those

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . moments again even though you know that they are—

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and always will be—

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . behind you.

 

III.

I think it’s a seduction, or at least some facet of a seduction.

I’ll remember

. . . . . THE BEST WAFFLES IN THE STATE

. . . . . and the tacky neon sign outside,

pulling up into parking lot

the tires on your car vibrating over the gravel.

 

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . That’s the moment when I should stop remembering,

 

 

Now you’re in Los Angeles or New York,

successful and with a husband,

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I won’t want to remember you, but I’ll dig a little further.

 

I’ll keep burrowing into my mind and remember

you looking at me right now,

probably a little surprised at my

Sudden Onset Sentimentality,

and I’ll remember

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . That little smile out of the corner of your mouth,

 

your fidgeting with the silverware on the table and

not really knowing where to put your eyes, and

then I’ll remember you looking back up,

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eyes suddenly wide and warm,

 

suppressing a smile.

 

 

IV.

I’ll remember

all that

all this

. . . . . the atmosphere that I’m suddenly experiencing,

. . . . . the view of the valley from the summit of the mountain

. . . . . in this shitty little diner,

and I’ll be warm,

the memory affecting more than just my emotions, but me

and everything around me.

This atmosphere,

right now:

I’ll be able to project it

. . . . . and fill my small, dark apartment

. . . . . and I’ll bask in it even though I know what’s coming now.

 

. . . . . Without realizing it I’ll suddenly be back here with you,

 

. . . . . wishing again that I could suspend time and not ever leave this table,

 

. . . . . I’ll want to bring you back with me so I could sit and stare into your eyes.

 

Notice your lips cracking without ever averting my gaze.

All I’ll want is to look at you, to experience

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . you like I am right now,

 

put my hand out and intertwine my fingers with yours,

and I’ll remember whatever force

is rising through my body and making my cheeks flush,

I’ll remember being as close to whole as I’ll ever be,

knowing that every time I’ve felt this way since

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . a little more of it was chipped away.

 

I’ll want to kiss your hand again

and see the neon glow on your cheek.

. . . . . Lying there,

. . . . . alone,

. . . . . I’ll get so, so close to this

. . . . . feeling,

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . but just as I’m about to be back here with you

 

. . . . . the pain will start creeping back in.

 

V. 

I’ll know that this is lost. I’ll remember where I am and realize it’s all a lie, and that the moment is passed, relegated to memory. I’ll snap back into reality and want to escape, and I’ll know that every time I come back here with you a little more of it slips away. The warmth will fade and I’ll put my hand on my chest and sigh, hoping that sometimes you sit and pine like I do.

 

 VI.

I think it’s a dream, or at least some facet of a dream.

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Michael Moeller is a writer currently living in New Orleans. He has had work published in Outrageous Fortune Magazine and The Monarch Review. He enjoys Tab soda.

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–Art by Marta Bevacqua

–Art by Alphan Yýlmazmaden

–Art by Seamus Travers