“Torque” by Grant Loveys

Image by Robert Linder

A dishevelled man placed his palm
on my son’s head and said
“Hello, Mason.”
We were on the number 8 bus.
We had never seen this man before.
The sky was the exact grey
of the seats we were sitting on.

My son looked up at me
and I could see a white-hot wire
glowing behind his eyes.
I said “He must have heard us talking,”
because I didn’t know
what else to say.

The man got off a few stops later
and folded himself into a gang of
rainbowed teenagers waiting at the corner.
I could see across the tops of buildings
all the way to the city’s rim.
I was waiting for everything to cave in on itself.

The bus crippled on down the street.
I imagined my son and I compacted
into a dead black obelisk.
I felt the dishevelled man carving his name into us.
I felt our mingled blood well up in his letters.

My son said “How does the bus carry us?”
I said “The same way I carry you.”

He nodded.
He didn’t understand torque.
And I didn’t tell him about it.
Not that kid,
not that day.


Grant Loveys lives in St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. His work has appeared in numerous literary publications, including Fractured West and Carte Blanche.

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