A resounding in my sleep world,
a gong without noise.
I tap my phone screen. It’s midnight.
Why am I awake? What is this alert in my neck? 

I find the pen,
do as I have done since I was nine or ten
when I heard an alert from red-winged blackbirds.
I write the moment.

It is now 12:01.
The day called August 31 just passed and became September 1
and the month of August also ended
and became September –
so an ending comes. 

Something is about to end.
Nothing will be the same as it was before.
It is September now. It will never be August of 2019 again.
My son’s face is before me as I write. 

I pause.
I think: This is vague.
Yet the tension in my neck also thinks, streaming cryptic reassurance before it fades.
When the ending comes, the meaning will be abundantly clear:
Midnight is never that “darkest hour before dawn.”
It opens into more night – quietest hours of the new day.
These hours are the place of sprouting seeds. 

I close my journal and write nothing in it for another sixty days.
I forget the alert in my neck
and waking up at midnight on August 31, 2019 –
the same way we forget dreams unless we write them down upon waking. 

I write the moment, and it becomes clear of itself.
And today I recall it, while sheltering in place at my son’s house.

Marlene Lang
March 21, 2020

Featured photo by Marlene Lang. Modified by Jonathan Best

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