Deaf light rappels across the time-challenged blackness of Space Night, pausing at each star to curse the minimalist universe. In our black and white existence there is a recurring dream when all that died is discovered alive, and then the dream dies and takes all else with it. I know the meaning of those dreams as well as I know you, which is to say, “Not at all.” But, in recognizing the shades of deaf light stumbling off your imagined face, there is something real to grasp. It takes a shape that turns mere insight into a throbbing shadow sketch, a charcoal profile of what happens when night takes charge of the living.
When I was dead, I knew the depths within me, the measure of the distance from the front of my eyes to the back of my head. It was infinite and I waited for the moment when eternal sleep would pause and grab my apneic throat. I would breathe if I could, while only left to bite at the sweet air teasing my broken windpipe. I would shout if I could, but the lung-blown charge deflected instead, reduced to an alphabet stream of skywritten smoke feeding through a trach-hole and spilling indecipherably around my ankles. I would run if I could, through the char-poisoned tar pit in cramping slow motion. I would run, if I could.
When I was alive, I imagined you looking into me and understanding everything. It was the sleepwalker in me who took the lead, groping blindly toward the safe space without any conscious sense, and ignorant of your truth as you walked beside me in the throes of your own dream. Sleepwalkers on parade we were, locked in step until the moment each dream took its own turn. I awoke screaming, alone on the ledge and you nowhere to be found. I stood at the edge and heard my scream raging back at me. I would fly if I could, but all I could do was fall.
Dark waters gather in the streets, more cold than wet, directionless and puddling indecisively in the lowest places I know. Deaf light rappels across the rippling surface and reflections turn on and off to signal dominance over the rest of us, dreamers and puddles alike. I lay with my face in the drink and my feet pointing toward the center of a centerless world, at once caressed by the lapping flow and held at a distance from its source, arrested from any further motion in the Space Night of a cursed minimalist universe. One more sleepwalker struck down, one more dream, and all its actors, dead upon arrival.