The Machine BY Genevieve Payne It’s in a dream when I meet Nathan and his sister again and Nathan, who I run off with, is half himself and half one of my ex-boyfriends and still as bereft as ever, the refrain of a bass without the strings. This is the kind of chick-flick I can get on board with: mostly sex and he’s betrayed even his family for me. It’s a piece of old theater, set in a new hotel with high windows and so many doors and so many sets of clean sheets. When I stop and really look at Nathan I remember what it is about a face— I remember that a face can be understood: His sister is cold and enameled, his best friend is still dead. I can never undream that death. I think I would if I could, but if anything, I’ve dreamed it into being over and over again: The girls I knew, the boys all of us who were there turn helpless to sex in hotels, against windows, in the woods behave as if we have something to take from one another while the machine of the dream, all pistons and steam, goes on. Genevieve’s work has previously appeared in online and print publications such as Chagrin River Review, Stolen Island and Indianola Review. It is forthcoming in Blueline. She lives in Central Maine with her dog, George Emerson.