Lost Afternoons

— Noah Stetzer

You’ll have a stranger with a hard-on parked in your driveway.
He will have clocked the address, and two sizes of shoes in the front hall;
marked the furniture and the house: comfortable, and will hear
two-point-five dogs in the basement while the school bus
makes its way down the street.
You’ll think: the small slip of suburban afternoon will empty
of noise and fill with chilly sun, a cool breeze will come
through the window and your house will settle and the washer will stop,
the dryer clock will click, the mail will rest, even the refrigerator
will hold its mechanical breath.

You’ve been careful not to tell your name and not to ask for his; and think
without names you’re unencumbered: face down naked and waiting, not putting a name
to this, wrapped in ideas of avoiding consequence—and you will have prayed
to God he’ll use you, prayed he’ll use you up; but you’re the only one
who’ll think this is anonymous.

You will peek between your feet and see his shoes behind you, feel the scratch
of his open zipper
against the back of your leg and he will push and hold you up on your toes
until that small moment stops.                     And then the day will fill in around you; houses
will drop slowly into lots next door and across the street. The ceiling will lower,
the walls will push in while the floor rises

until they stop just as far apart as they need to. His skin will peel away
from yours, the small clicks and whirrs of the house will start up
while he washes in the bathroom, and with quick footsteps across the hardwood floors,
he’ll be out the door. Change the sheets, wash the towels,
and close your blinds.


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