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  • Midday. Behind this thin screen a bed remains unoccupied, but as night falls and I drift into slumber I imagine someone approaching, looking into the open window at my sleeping body. What then? Would she sit down cross-legged and stare curiously at my chest rising and falling, sleepy breaths drowned out by the cicadas' symphony in the surrounding trees? Would she wonder what I’m dreaming? I’m swimming in my upside down boyhood home. I’m standing alone on a frozen lake singing through a violin. I’m walking slowly down a gravel road in Iowa where the impossibly green trees are hunched over, crowding me, as if they’re reaching for me, as if the only opportunity they have for interacting with people--at one time dust and earth like them until animated by the breath of a powerful imagination and love--is in dreams, and so they reach for me.

    I am not afraid.

    I hear whispers of conversations from a hundred years ago, fifty years ago, last week. All this regret? All this yearning? All this struggle? I feel questions in the branches and I have no answers. I am one more mystery. The leaves recede slowly, disintegrate, I fall upward and wake. I hear something outside the window and open the deck door. The sky is a king's velvet robe speckled with brilliant stars like headlights, illuminating surrounding treetops swaying gently in midnight’s breeze. I close my eyes and hear a familiar whisper.
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