If you're reading this-
    Photo by Brennen Bariso / North by Northwestern
    Photo by Brennen Bariso / North by Northwestern
    If you're reading this and you think you might be one of the people being described, please contact the author at brennenbariso2020@u.northwestern.edu


    We passed each other near the Arch

    last Tuesday, during the heatwave of January

    when Apollo decided to bring the sun a little closer

    for a few days.

    Almost 11 a.m., you had brown hair

    no jacket, just a striped sweater.

    I was wearing a cherry-colored coat, unzipped.

    It was hot but you were very, very cool.

    We met at a party in December

    I wasn't sure if you remembered me, but

    you gave me an unexpected smile

    and I wish we stopped to chat.

    The next day

    the sun was just a dimple in the gray sky.


    Up in the stacks of the library

    during reading week last quarter,

    I piled up some heavy books to rest my computer on

    so I could do my work standing up.

    Old tomes,

    tales of water spirits and French economics textbooks.

    We made eye contact more times than I can count.

    There was no reason for you to walk by me on your way out

    but you did.

    You probably didn't realize that

    in the black border of my laptop

    I caught the reflection of you looking back at me.

    Compelled by my friend, I raced out toward the elevators

    to see if I could catch you, but

    like magnets colliding

    the doors shut and

    you were gone.

    If you remember me in the same way,

    If we switched bodies and you would do the same thing,

    tell me the two words written on the back of my shirt

    so I know it's you.


    We had never met, apparently,

    until we were introduced by a friend

    in the middle of Norbucks.

    You roused in me

    memories of someone I

    must have known years ago, but

    like a vagabond, I cannot find a place for you.

    A quick introduction

    turned into hours of feeling so close

    I believe that I have

    always known you.

    I am writing this because I have been too afraid to approach you since then.

    If I type these words specifically for you

    and you happen to see them

    does that mean it's fate?


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