When You're Caught
In the Cab home, with your hair brushed back, already slip showing, you mouthed three numbers and a street name. Carrying you up a staircase built to wear us down, your heels tapped on every doorframe to say. I’m not that difficult, take me home. It’s your curtains laced with wind chimes that stop me. It’s your windows always open on the fifth floor, and for some reason, never cold.
You're caught, living, when you talk in your sleep. When you breathe on your back, you’re caught, whistling. I caught you singing, so I stayed.
I stayed, spent, smiling. I dashed water upon your lips, and to this, you carried a note straight out the front door. I was listening. The luxury of dirty wine kept you humming, bars in bars, two part harmonies over two small blocks. In your sleep, do you sing more in the winter to keep warm, or in the summer to let out the heat? I thought I caught your thumbs drumming on your hips. I saw your big toe curl, as if wincing, when the wind came in flat. Can you hear me? I’m wandering lost in your apartment when I find a note on the back of your front door that reads.
“Hey, sometimes, I sing in my sleep, I’m sorry. If you hear it can you please push record. There is a tape deck on my bedside table.”
So I did, and I caught the three a.m. foghorns, the metronome of my wristwatch, and the sporadic stomp of your upstairs neighbors. As soon as that click came in, as soon as that tape started recording, you stopped singing. Your subconscious must have stage fright, because you went quietly into what was left of the night.
In the morning I woke to you asking, as you played the tape back, Did I sing? You did press record? You stammered. You were the voice of wonder, as that rewound sound kept feathering the air, like a broken time machine. Hardly awake enough to break a stranger’s heart, I said, instead, I’m sorry, I’m a pretty deep sleeper.