The nights

The nights do not pass. You adjust your body so that with each blink and snooze nothing has changed. The air feels cooler on your skin. Your feet disappear for just a moment before consuming you with their feeling of tearing, scalding, and needles. The street lights are still. The sconces are unflinching. The shadows of dead bugs show. The same dead bugs. Close your eyes. There is no moon to trace your shadow from side to side, only the rise and fall of the tepid displaced water trickling into your nose as your abdomen expands with breath after breath. You find yourself awakening in the same state, empty places, rooms and halls that are too large, bits of flat sky visible and the urge to walk quickly to the next incompatible plaster casket to sleep. Something has happened here. You deny. Your feet are alive. Something has happened in each, under the layers of paint. You sleep outside in the oceanic balm. The city is on the verge of sinking.

You look for detail and differentiation, a character in the continuous endless mess. When you sleep you leave. When you wake you wait. The shade and streetlight in the courtyard are rent by a sharp stria of blond light that stretches across the terrain and cleaves the rosy stucco wall beyond between to columns of dim windows. It enters you. Would you choose unchanging chaos, endless footsteps, or the pure spear of scrutiny? Change insinuates. Light changes things. You follow it with your eyes from where it disappears into the grain of the brown sky across the flaking wood eave of the high wall and down the blotter sheen of the stucco withholding trepidant fogs. Across the stone and shining in the punctuation of flat wet partial footsteps she traces the light across the glowing greensick pool and up across the blank wall to the sky and back to her feet with monophobic sweats. The spear of light is empty. Out from her feet stretches old yellowed linoleum tile, swept clean, but worn nonetheless, by sweeping. It stops at a wood baseboard whose lips and grooves are filled with dust. She stands away from the edge and leans toward the window over the kitchen table so that when she stands back up she is nearly in the middle of the room. The view outside is poison sustenance. The sky is flat and empty. It should not be. The courtyard is dry and empty. Each time she looks she expects a disruptive difference. So she looks again. The apartment can change, the afternoon hot grey sun, the pale blue dawn. She can close her eyes and those momentary tones are painted over. It is change she expects. Then she can fall apart. These things are within reach. The doors are painted shut.

Critical Response:

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