I said it would be nice (look how simple I made it: nice) not to be marooned in the blue-black of night with my thoughts, I said the corrugated squares of the downstairs quilt accuse me, I said the sofa pillows are gape-jawed, I said there are fine red hairs in the Pier 1 rug that will dislodge and drown in my lungs, I said I can’t breathe, I said, Please.
It wasn’t hard.
But you were asleep by then, west to my east, uncorrupted by the plain and the soft of my imagination, the occasional and wire whipped and cruel: you couldn’t be touched; you wouldn’t stir; you. I broke and I climbed out and I climbed through and I climbed down into the blue black red threads and sat until a fat clack cracked the hollow between the walls and I knew that it was the long-nailed scrabble of a squirrel or the procrastination of the fox or the wolf that is my thoughts.
That was the first night after.
Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of fourteen books, most recently Small Damages, named to many best-of-year lists. Three new books are set to be released, including Handling the Truth (Gotham), a book about the making of memoir based on Beth’s teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. She blogs daily about life and literature at www.beth-kephart.blogspot.com.