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  • In summers when I was a kid, I would visit my grandparents in Maine. At night, my brother Ken and I slept in a small room on the front of the house that my grandfather built along a road that led from the bridge down to the Navy Yard. My bed was right underneath a window covered with sheer drapes that faced the road, which was quiet at night; twenty minutes would go by without a passing car. Sleeping in my room by that road was, for the most part, sleeping in the country: dark, warm, wind in the leaves.

    While I lay in bed, I could hear my mother talking with the whole family in the living room; they'd chat and laugh until four in the morning, which kept me awake for hours wondering what they talked about. To distract myself, I waited for cars to pass; my bedroom at home wasn't near the road, and the passing of cars at night in Maine was a soothing novelty--the sound of their tires on the asphalt, the rumbling engines, the wedge of light that swept--first slowly, then swiftly--across the walls of my bedroom, the whisper as they rolled away. I would count cars like you count sheep, and after ten of them I'd be out, and then it would be seven A.M., and my grandmother would be making french toast.

    The window in the bedroom of my current apartment opens onto a busy road in Brooklyn. It leads from a warehouse district out to the Williamsburg Bridge. The sound of the cars going by always puts me right to sleep.
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