written by a heavy hand and sleepy body curled in the fatigue of 4:30am car-rides

the roads to the airport curve up
lifting above the ground

and from up there the streetlamps glitter like stars
scattered between winding, twisting highway lines
the brightness blurred into spots of warm yellow light
crisp in the cold night

the thin visibility of the milky-dark night threads through my eyelashes
eyelids dipped low 
drowsy and bleary in the early morning 

pinpricks in the pale blue darkness
like the sky’s been ripped and all the light is splintering through
fabric torn and stretched above me
i drag my fingertips against the color but cannot touch it 

as white dotted lines rush underneath the car
concrete underneath 
above
at the sides
the city cups its hands over me and i nearly disappear
and this is the only time the road will ever be empty 
yawning open to swallow me down the street

in one apartment building 
all the lights are off
curtains drawn
but one glows with pale yellow light 
a blocky rectangle in the dark 

the window a cut of the world
the city of 4:30am is not the city of mid-afternoon
empty sidewalks and eerie echo
lights on in the windows of those who cannot sleep despite the time
this city at night is a city of quiet insomniacs 

and i push myself into it all
like ducking your head underneath a waterfall 
wash the silence over me like a silvery dawn 
drown in all of it
the footstep-less pavement clogging my ears
and the dark storefronts and stale, urban air stuff my mouth like dry cotton
my throat makes faint sounds, voice diminished and muffled by the lack of noise

it is polluted and dirty 
cigarette stubs lining the dips of sidewalk edges
grimy gutters of canadian rainwater and dying patches of grass
this city is not pretty 
it is just what it is

and the streetlamps are like they always are, 
unflickering light in brazen spheres of lazy yellowness
the scuff of shoes on sidewalks and birds calling sleepy chirps to unanswering companions
like a phone that rings, rings, rings, but never convinces someone to get out of bed

this isn’t a movie 
nothing is clean and polished
i am tired and sleep-bemused 
not awake enough to be at odds with the world 
or to see the city bend around me as i stare out the car window
reflection considering me in an undefined outline

but to me,
all the soft, pastel smudging of the world 
is just another starry sky. 

The End

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