When I was twelve I had insomnia –
a crippling sense of anticipation
for something that would never come.

Every night,
the cautious evening crept into the house
and the water in the pipes would settle,
and the air conditioner would choke itself
in an aluminum rattle –
the vents exhaling their last cool breath
the dust sinking silver against the windows.
I would lie in the dark
restless as the moonlight,
and strangled by the hands of patience.

Sometimes at 2 a.m.
my father, still awake in his tiny office,
would hear my pacing,
slip wordless into my room
and put “Blood on the Tracks” on the old stereo –
Bob Dylan crooning soft and desperate
about losing his wife.
I didn’t understand the words,
but I think I always understood the sound,
the inexorable fear of emptiness.

Now, sitting at the desk,
I realize
sometimes the empty spaces
weigh as much as the movements.


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