When you and most of the world go to sleep, I come out of my sheath and comb through the words that have been discarded, sorting and separating them into small piles on the floor around me. I contemplate the tattered shreds of Webster’s Unabridged, its once-proud onionskin papers turned to translucent confetti. No more sense to be made. The language is broken.
I pour myself a drink. Or two. It is an overwhelming job, this making sense — and I can’t do it. All the good intentions of the day are jettisoned in the dark. My daytime self is no longer on speaking terms with the one who prowls at night.
I yearn for the dawn and the salvation that exhaustion could bring. If I can’t go on, I must be absolved, right? Would that I were the Monarch and I could self-absolve myself. It’d be a handy trick. But no — no one can free me, if I can’t free myself.
The night is rising now from below. It runs like a thick black ink down the center of the avenue. The dark waters bubble up from spreading fissures and from manhole covers that are pushed aside as if made of tin. It is a subterranean power yearning up from below, the river Styx unleashed. It tumbles the thrustful and the over-cautious alike into its surge.
The night has its own language of flesh and bodily fluids and wonder and marrow. It hardly needs brain-formed words to conduct its nightwork. The night precedes words but doesn’t need them.
The waters continue to rise. Eventually, I tire of flight. I lay my night self along the littoral until the watery tendrils lift me and transport me back underground where that self waits, wordless, in the cavernous dark to rise again.