Midnight, with Dogs
Midnight and the puppies are out on the lawn doing what puppies do before I settle in to sleep what sleep may come, now I am old and my bones, chambered into a congress of aches, remind me sleep should be reserved for those who have too much time on their hands.
An armadillo grubs the grass, and the puppies are terrified of him, sightless thing it is, oblivious to our nearness despite barking and my scolding for silence. Now I am old I long for quiet, and yet quiet is abrupt as thunder. My wife is soundly asleep, and whatever bedtime banter there may have been
has washed like leaves down the long drive we’ve travelled, the storm being the thing I desire, that hullabaloo to which I one day must become accustomed.
You can’t write depressing stuff, she told me once, years ago, and, well, ah well, that’s good advice from someone who’s old. But it’s not depressing to be alive
at midnight, as puppies crap on the lawn, watching a blind tank nose worms out of dirt, or feeling wind wrapping warm about me before sleep. These are things to be missed when sleep comes, human things: the sound of one’s breathing in the pause between speech, the rumble of the heart
to the fingertips, the air’s course through me.
Tonight, there’s a million stars in the sky I’ve counted, each one special. And tonight, stars fall, two or three, upon which I have made my wishes— to live long, to survive every hurt, and to love, like a big-hearted dog, any twig handed me as if it is the world’s best thing.