Shallow End by Grant Young

Narcissus stares at the upper right corner of his zoom screen. he returns his gaze. professor’s lecture flounders. diluted discourse. how could school expect his attention? he tilts his head, swivels in his blue suede chair, compares lighting, surveys angles. his eyes linger on resting lips; the perfect curve of cupid’s bow. then a splash. ripples through his digital pool. shared screen. his gaze evaporates. panicked clicks. gallery view. suitors steal his mirror space. they poach his property. they are not him. aversion. a hail mary, a blessed click. show self-view. the ripples cease. suitors scatter. his face breaks the surface. buoyancy.
back to gallery view. his own echo beckons. unmute. center stage. words pour forth from his splendid image. he observes his mouth’s motion as it conjures meaning. the way his lips waltz with one another, synchronized flow, faultless staging. elegance. then the spout tapers. words waver. silence. he stays on screen—spotlighted. fitting. conversation drowned. professor thanks him for his reflection, asks for other opinions. a suitor changes subject. conversation springs to life, flows. he mutes it. suitors speaking sickens him. his gaze returns to the upper right corner of his zoom screen.
he stares.       

Grant Young is an MFA candidate at the University of San Francisco. He is the founding editor of Clinch, a literary magazine dedicated to the martial arts. His work has previously been published by HAD and The Twin Bill. You can find him on Instagram (@GrvntYoung) and Twitter (@GrvntYoung).