Night Neighborhood by Terry Bain

Apnea

April Fifth

Anyway, as you sleep, you
breathe. The air comes in 
and the air goes out, and if 
you are lucky, the passage 
of air will not be interrupted, 
or an angel may blow into 
your mouth, or you may lose 
an eyelash. There is a cup

of water on the nightstand, 
and if you wake in the 
night you will be tempted 
to drink from the water, 
but you may also get 
up and let the dog out or 
go to the bathroom or
try to relax quietly through
a charley horse. You

may be tempted to drink 
from the water but you 
may also look at your phone 
and listen intently to the 
nearby car alarms, 
attempting to gauge their 
distance by their tone and 
volume. You may be tempted

to drink from the water but 
you’ve forgotten that the 
nightstand has been moved 
and was never an actual 
nightstand to begin with 
but a wooden chair set beside 
the bed.

This doesn’t matter. It’s a 
night of sleep scraped

together between wakeful 
moments. A cat asleep 
on your chest. A police 
searchlight passing through 
the back yards of your 
neighborhood, searching, 
so often searching. A 
loneliness alive in your chest.

But there is air coming in and 
going out, so at least you may 
survive.

Terry Bain is the author of You Are a Dog and We Are the Cat ‡ TwitterInstagramLetterboxdTinyLetter
Copyright 2019 Terry Bain