What Butch Says

Tania Hershman

           Butch says I need to watch everything you do. I say, But he’s just sitting there. Butch slaps my back. Exactly! says Butch. He brings me pens and notepads. He moves my chair to the window. Butch says it’s like spying. He says I have the skills for this. He says it’s not like the things I’m bad at – washing up, or making the bed.

            Butch says I need to fill one notepad a week. Butch says it doesn’t matter that I don’t know your name. Butch says it doesn’t matter that I’ll never meet you.

            When Butch goes out I stare at you. You sit on that bench every day. You have lunch at the same time. No-one sits next to you. I write down that I see a woman with a dog. I write that the dog tries to sniff your sandwich and you hold it up high. I don’t write down that this makes me laugh.

            I want to ask Butch why I’m doing this. I want to ask why you’re the one, and why there are so many pens, so many notepads. I want to ask Butch why he locks the door when he goes.

            I think about tearing a page, making it into an airplane and sending it out the window. I write down that you stand up. I write down that you turn left and walk away. I write down that the bench is empty now.

Tania Hershman is the author of a poetry collection, two poetry chapbooks, three short story collections and a hybrid book inspired by particle physics. www.taniahershman.com