Up

You were sleeping in the operator’s seat of the forklift, arms crossed with the hood of your sweater pulled nearly over your eyes as I walked past. Cars whipped by on Clark St. and I hoped you wouldn’t get in trouble from your supervisor for the public snooze––you looked so serene, like whatever it was you were dreaming about was worth the risk.

Were you dreaming about lifting things with your machine? Bringing objects from one area to another? Perhaps moving large mounds of ground beef slapped haphazardly on a pallet to the top shelf of your elderly mother’s kitchen pantry––meat bits flittering to the ground like ashes. Maybe you were raising an entire people from oppression, the forks of your machine tearing skywards through centuries of systemic social and economical prejudice. Or were you speeding down a long, open desert highway, stopping only to move deceptively large and immobile tortoises from one side of the road to the other, securing their safety from the merciless tires of the other drivers who just didn’t give a shit about the gift of life.

Whatever was making your eyes jump back and forth like a protracted game of pong behind their lids, I hoped it was worth it, as the man who had been watching you with his arms folded from the large front window of your building began to make his way outside.