It works best in the hushed stillness of midnight, with the low howl of wind curling through the trees beyond my window. It works most efficiently in the center of activity, with the electrical pulse of life humming all around me, pushing me harder, faster, longer. It works meticulously when it’s not supposed to be working at all, weaving intricate patterns of alternate realities that feel palpable. The cogs and wheels and springs creak and groan and thud and shriek at all times; even in the silence I can hear the whirring sounds, the ticking and the clatter, the rumble and the clamor. I wipe the phantom scents and residual flavors of the day from the walls. I need to drain the system; flush out the toxins, empty the gathering trays for the loose thoughts and stray fragments of emotion; nightly, I shake out the rugs and sweep out the cobwebs where things were left quiet too long. I hang unexpected laughter and the glimmer of freedom like ornamental lights along the ceiling, pinned into place with the discarded instants where lightness of being seemed enough. I pick up the pieces of songs and freeze-frame shards of my vision, of smiles and the way light hung in the air at midday. I collect the sorrows like pieces for puzzles that were never mine, kept in a box beneath the bed – so full of potential but the unflinching knowledge that the parts will never quite assemble correctly lets them grow old and dusty, the colors fading slowly; I collect the broken moments, the heartbreak and the tragedy and the moments of unprecedented darkness, I put them in a jar on the windowsill hoping the sunlight filtering through the distorted, murky glass will make them beautiful again.