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By Aaron M. Rudolph

3 a.m., a Tuesday

Wrapped up in this strait-jacket blanket
trying to keep the dark out. My hands grip hard
to make the blanket a layer
of skin. If I can keep tugging
maybe noise will cease, maybe I can keep
hurt away, even failure. Can't tell
how I got here or why it's so important
not to leave. Infants curl up in a fetal position
because of instinct. I used to believe

that crying was almost noble. Emotion
is not about what happens outside.
It's an impulse close to sneezing.
It's just hitting me about security blankets
and maybe I'm not close to having
grown up. Most nights I walk outside
to look at the stars because I think I'm supposed to
and most nights the sky is empty
except for the moon. I miss the stars
because we use them to represent
the future and hope. They just hang up there,
nothing holding them in place.

As a kid, I drew yellow stars
over a black sky and added a bird
or two so that there was movement
in the world, company. My birds
flapped their wings
finding each other despite the dark.

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Document last modified on: 11/11/2007

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