When the night voices tremble in your heart, so do you hear where each of us is, except for me, except for the one who doesn’t call. Your bed is damp with not knowing. Left to the black glass and right to your husband, you shake your head No all night. He barely moves, but for you, sleep is not peace while I go unfound. Last seen buying gum, I chew in all your dreams. It looks like closed-mouth speech. What are you so afraid to hear me say? The photo of me that’s making the rounds is getting old, me in black sweatshirt and hood with bright cheekbones and bright chin, otherwise swallowed in darkness and yet a good likeness. Hands from the margins reach out to help or molest me. There couldn’t be a bigger difference between our lives. I used to be the one who lay awake at night sick to death of life. You’ll say that I should call and explain, but would it comfort you to hear my explanation? It never did when you were my mother. What does your husband think? I’m not looking for you, is what I’m trying to say, and you should stop looking for me. It’s winter and I’m thinking of heading south where this shirt I’ve grown fond of will be warm enough for the chilly nights that seem to bring out the stars. I’ll find family where I go or do without. Shall I tell you the lesson of my travels since leaving home? It’s about how stars in constellations are unrelated and only appear to cluster because of where we stand. Do you like it? Come out and look. I’m just outside your window where I’ve always been, wondering how to reach you in your bed.

Copyright © March 31, 2008 David Hodges