Heart of Night
— Thomas Wolfe
Sleepless Heart At first it is a kneading, a small animal, worried, wanting out. You wake, palm to chest.
Bright fog beyond the windows, and you recognize the moonlit interior, the gouged and pockmarked stone, its quiet rhythm through wet haze, caught, reflecting some other beauty.
You remember being told: The cells of the heart know only how to be a heart. It was a long time ago. Now your body is a clutch of moss grown around that knot of cells rioting, that clump of red electricity you hold but can’t touch.
The moon, sinking, separates shadows from mere blackness, drains over the body of your calico stretched in sleep, paws twitching, some dream of a chase, then pummeling, suckling, a sigh, surrender.
It isn’t darkness that you lie in
between night and morning.
Palm to chest, eyes shut, you try to go back,
to go in. The cells of the heart pulsed
before you could call them a heart, in the days
when you could have grown a tail, mitts for hands,
thumb of a head, dark purple panes of alien eyes,
that nub of brain aware of nothing.