This Old Night

There are cobwebs in the skylight. It is forgotten by the sun. There is dust on the shelf, stark against fresher marks where emptiness sits, waiting on people to return things.

I am standing in the kitchen over a day full of dishes. This is the only house I’ve ever lived in that doesn’t have a window over the sink, and instead of my gaze being lost forever it is bounced back upon me. The view is cracked and shattered, still lost, still forever. Still.

Then the dishes are washed and I don’t even remember it. My hands are wet. They look as old as I feel.

Down one hall are two children sleeping. Their path to bed was not as straight and narrow as the corridor might imply. They took a scenic route through tangents and questions that somehow turned into a discussion of fires and safety, the timing of which set the stage for fears to burn in little boys’ hearts long after the lights dimmed. They have made appearances in the hours since, heavy with sleep and light on assurances. I lift their burdens easily enough and carry them back to bed.

They are covered with blankets, stuffed bears, and the gentle glow of a soft, green universe adhered to the ceiling and ever expanding. I wonder if this is the last time I’ll be here tonight and kiss the top of their heads accordingly. It is better, I believe, to be safe than sorry. Besides, there are worse things than unknown kisses upon golden hair. It comforts me to comfort them.

The house creaks beneath my every step despite my best efforts to the contrary. It too feels old, and perhaps it also wishes for a window where a window should be.

The cobweb mocks me. It knows that I will not take the time to find the means of reaching it. It knows that without sunshine the skylight is just a picture of clouds never moving. It is a black hole in in our soft, green universe.

The dust is settled and I give it the night.

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