Nights I cannot sleep

Thoughts late at night when the wooden beams contract and the children roll and murmur in their sleep come crowding like the curious at a crash scene, themselves a sight with their mouths open wide, heads hanging down or turned aside, deaf, blind to their contribution to the moment’s poignancy. I cannot sleep but know what happened, this arrangement of different things at the same time hanging in the air like a frozen zeppelin, simply is, like a cliff face or an opening in the earth that took a town. I struggle against it, knowing that life lived lies tangled and heavy like the discarded nets of fishermen – it’s wet and real and populated with lice – but life lost is cruelly imagined like stories of near catches told with hands held wide – ‘I’ve not got the span to tell you what might have been.’ This is how I think of you, my son, late at night in my bed, as if you are one dead who might have lived and painted things. I lost you and your loss was incremental but I feel it like some terrible, single event that swoops down from somewhere high and hidden, hard beaked and beady eyed that wants to eat the heart of me. Nights I cannot sleep pass slowly with my thoughts and my sense of a great ill will and you somewhere having lived a whole gap of time without me.


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