It is the middle of a night

And my son is still awake

Because he cannot sleep.

In the living room he sees

A spider. And he calls out

To me. Saying the word bee

Because he cannot. Cannot

Say the word spider yet and

I show him how to capture

A spider with a cup. And I

Am holding my one hand

Over the open part.

Unlocking and opening a

Door with my other hand.

Telling my son wait or now.

Before moving my hand and

Letting it go.

Released I say.

And the word released is

releasing into darkness.

The darkness of a night

With a sky that stretches

Where I ask my son and

Maybe Jupiter because

He is seven and he likes

Planets. And he tries to

Say the word Jupiter or

How he says a word that is Jupiter

But sounds. Sounds nothing like it.

And we go outside. Go

Outside because we are

Awake or because

The sky is. And this is how.

How I take his hand and

Say outside. Where we

Lie on our backs in dark

Grass. Blades of grass that

Twist against our skin. Skin

Of our arms and necks and

Hands and legs and feet. And

My son points up to the sky

And says purple and I know

He means this. That the sky

Is purple. Even though.

Even though it is night.

And I tell him about airglow.

How it is  radiation

From the atmosphere that

Makes the sky light up and

I say words like atoms and

Molecules. How there are

Solar photons and cosmic

Rays and how it all emits

And glows and

My son is silent.

How he hears me

But cannot speak.

How he is listening but he

Cannot say. Say what he is


And I try to imagine what

The inside of his brain is

Like. How it is filled with

Words and phrases and

Sentences that

Collect like particles and

Paragraphs and

Form the thoughts that

He cannot say yet. How

They are thoughts

I do not know yet.

That are trapped

And held captive inside

His brain like that.

And I am turning my head

Or how the blades of grass

Are moving under my head

Like snakes. Snakes that are

Lying beneath me and I am

Turning to make sure he is

Still here. My son. Still and

Next to me.

And I tell him to remember.

To always remember how

A night falls. To remember

This night and airglow.

How it is never really dark.

How there is always light

Being released from




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