Peeping Tom Reclining

I know they say the stars are so far away that the light from them left before the birth of Jesus; before the dinosaurs were even in middle school but still. When you look up at them they seem so present and benevolent, bending over out little cradle here.

Say you’re having one of those nights when you’re making twisted ropes of the bedsheets with all your tossing and turning, and adrenalin shot of anxiety keep jolting through your body.

Desperate, you get up and begin touring the house in your insomnia, straightening the pictures and talking to the chairs. You drink some water, not too much. Maybe you take a hot bath, hoping to stun yourself sleepy that way. Then, at the end of all that, just as you’re crawling back into the rope-nest of disordered sheets your eyes travel to the window and there on the other side of it is… Orion, big as life and back for the winter.

Even schoolchildren know Orion on sight, even on his back like this with his belt in its perfect three-star line-up, his dagger attached, his upraised arm and those wide, wide shoulders.

There were meteor showers over the weekend and you tried to see the 15 shooting stars an hour that were said to be visible. Alas clouds had rolled in by then and anyway you couldn’t stay awake.

There are no clouds this night and no meteor showers either but awake you are and glad to see this old gladiator lying on his side, leaning on one elbow and looking in at you as if to say “Hey.” You smile and turn away from him and are sleeping within 30 seconds.

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