she was going one way down the hallway – Peter Gutierrez

she was going one way down the hallway, he the other, both
over-the-shouldering each other, January 3 or 4 of some year, she
was rain-geared and glistening, he
stopped, made a show of stopping, wished her happy new year, she
stopped too, he took a step toward her and then another,
kissed her on a specific cheek, already blushed with cold, he
lingered, then pulled away quickly, de-escalating, continued on his
way down the hallway and she said happy new year back at him,

he was headed for the rear entrance, land of car and dumpster,
she was entering from same, wet and happy for some reason;
he had admired her squeezed-up flesh on other occasions, had given
it guilty consideration; it was vibrant this time, and he wanted to show
his mounting interest—the new year was a good excuse & sure enough
she stopped in her tracks; closer, the hallway shortening,
her chilled, splashy skin under mouth now, a taking acceptable to
anyone, and then she speaks and does something else with that

out the back way and there she is coming in, passing
as he targets and there’s nothing left in this world but impulse
and seizure; he issues a command in the form of a greeting,
zeroing in: a package he wants to be wrapped for him, tightly,
spinning to face him; and he’s there, touching down, pretending
to care rather than admit that his fingers are simply dipped
in urge; backtracks while breathing her and even if this leads
nowhere, he thinks, at least I made her stand so still while I took my