Apr 2, 2006

Graveyard night

Graveyard, n. 1. A burial ground. 2. A place where worn-out or obsolete equipment or objects are kept. 3. The shift of the night between midnight and 8 a.m.

God divided the day and the night. To the day he gave the sun, for light, and he left the night with darkness and the cyclical shinings of the moon's rock reflection.

Men divided the day. They portioned it up into early morning and late morning, noon and afternoon and evening. They put the day into pieces and they named them and traded them and they owned them. But the night they left alone.

The night belonged to no one. It was dark and open. Into the night came the cats and the owls. Into the night came the skunks and raccoons and coyottes. And into the dark and undivided night came the graveyard people, the people who didn't own anything: the students and the criminals and the truckers and the cabbies, waitresses, janitors, cops and drunks, shelf stockers and crazy talkers and people trying to get home. There were names for these people: lunatics, insomniacs and vampires.

They didn't own the night. They didn't know how to own it or what that would mean. They looked out their windows and saw their own faces.

They talked more softly than the day people, trusted their eyes less and listened more closely. They listened for the birds that bark before the morning comes. They had clammy skin and horse voices and sandy eyeballs and when the sun rose to reassert itself and its day, they were watching for it, watching their faces fade from the window.