Cold hate
amplifies, magnifies,
patient study.
quick eye-
any chink, potential opening
sense of give.
Thrusts in customized blade,
so small, but in a spot to
While the flushed glorious face
soft eyes beaming.


The draft of the aquariums’ air conditioning welcomed me and drew me in like a cooling hug. The fall day was keeping with the Indian summer that had stretched through September and showed evidence of pushing itself into October. With it being off-season and the middle of the week, there were only sparse clusters of people in various areas of the lobby. I assumed most were locals, but there was always the one obvious tourist, in the stereotypical loud flowing shirt and bermuda shorts. At odds to the light-hearted outfit were a set of mirrored aviators, pushed up on top of the head. This man wandered alone, with a small digital camera hanging around his neck.
A strange pity stabbed in my gut at seeing him alone. His thinning ashy hair and leathery face had a pair of the brightest green eyes that appeared to take in everything with sharp insight. Approaching the pool in the middle of the room, I studied the sea life that small children were allowed to handle, glancing at him as best I could. Peripheral vision didn’t catch much besides the bright orange flowers on his shirt. I edged over to a spot where I was semi-hidden, taking in the sight of him more. I noticed the left hand hanging at his side was bronze, but with a subtle scar where a wedding ring has once clung. He strolled up to an exhibit nearby, and I saw a five o’clock shadow with bits of grey and dark blonde. Under his eyes there was a puffiness that indicated either being a heavy drinker, or extreme tiredness.
A part of me wanted to approach him, and ask more of his story. A strange fear and shyness held me at bay. I wondered if when he was married, he had children. I wondered if he had worked too many hours at a job he hated, to give his kids all he could. Maybe his divorce was years of built up frustration over breaking his back and having nothing to show for it.
Maybe he wasn’t divorced at all, and his wife had died. Maybe, maybe.
As I watched, he lowered his camera, rubbing his eyes. Transfixed, I watched him head toward the exit, open the door, and turn left onto the sidewalk outside. When he was gone, the life I had tentatively constructed seemed to shatter, disappear.
The rest of the day I wandered, but couldn’t shake the image of the tourist.