Lights Out The float engages as the toilet’s tank is filled. The sound of running water dies. All noise of human bustle gone, the house relaxes into weary creaks and sighs. The trees outside are silent, with no wind stirring their leaves. A sparrow in its nest, I settle into sleep beneath the distant rumble of a red-eye heading west. The smoke detector’s indicator light winks faintly overhead, its tiny sun the only glow except the bedside clock displaying unwatched minutes one by one. My breathing scarcely stirs the coverlet. With no external sound distracting me, I listen to my nervous system play its steady note – F above middle C. O let my end be gentle as this night as silent and enfolding. No more dawn -- let darkness rock me in its arms until my heartbeat slows, then stutters, then is gone.
Reagan Upshaw lives in a town on the Hudson River 60 miles north of New York City and makes a living as an art appraiser, while gardening and keeping bees.