[Composed of revised lines from dating-app profiles]
Riley wants someone who isn’t afraid of silence. Tyler hates the sound of heavy exhalation. Zach can breathe through his ear, the left one. Evan can sculpt anything out of balloons. Marshall is in not one, but two vocal bands. Michael wishes he could sing. Jacob throws tomahawks on the weekends. On a date, Daniel dropped a knife and caught the blade in his hand. On his way home from a date, Jac was hit by a car. Caleb comes from a town with two stoplights. At his drafting table, Noah draws maps of made-up places. Tattooed across Wyatt’s chest are the words endless empathy. Jung would donate a kidney for a friend. To win Emil’s heart, try to speak Swedish. Johnny owns a hundred language textbooks. Josh is competitive about spirituality and theology. On his first attempt at meditation, Sean reached nirvana. While leaving a store in Paris, Peter heard a child scream, “I want it more than God!” Manny almost drowned in the Aegean Sea. Mikey is a lover of otters, who link arms when they sleep so as not to drift apart. What if Tommy told you he has dozed off while river rafting, riding a horse, sitting on a fence post? Matthew would like to know what is more important to you: novelty or routine? Alec would like you to know that when the pope dies, they strike him on the head with a silver mallet three times, saying his name to make sure he’s dead, and Patrick wants to know how often you talk to ghosts when you’re alone.
Will Howard’s writing and translations have appeared in Brevity, Diagram, Hotel Amerika, the Offing, Passages North, and elsewhere. A 2021–22 Fulbright fellow in Asturias, Spain, he’s currently a graduate student in literary translation at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Follow him @hill_woward.
This essay was originally published by Passages North in 2021.