In the American Dream

The sleep of the just is just as we’ve always been told. Picture with me, if you will, the bathroom slippers arranged neatly by the bedside, the dog in his customary spot curled up, as dogs will do, with his nose a few inches from his anus. Equally at bay are the sour smells of anxiety and the endless odor-free winter of despair.

The sleep of the just is peaceful as a cemetery, calm as the aftermath of a therapeutic airstrike necessary to conquer terror and quell unrest. The downed wires, the cratered streets permit no troublesome motors to mar this earful of silence. From time to time a cellphone might trill from somewhere under the rubble, a tasteful snatch of classical music as pleasing as a cricket on the hearth.

The sleep of the just is uncommonly deep. Deep as the color of the sky above Fat Poplar, New Mexico. Deep as the voice of the taiko drum at Itsukushima-Jinja, carried out on the tide through the iconographic red torii that stands across the inlet from Hiroshima.

The sleep of the just, we are meant to suppose, is profoundly settling: we sink incrementally into the bed of that sunless river. Like a well-built house that can withstand the removal of a thick seam of coal several hundred feet down. Some mornings, one might find a new crack or two in the windows, doors that need a bit of extra planing before they’ll shut. Right angles gradually go more and more off true.

Ah, for such a rest of the over-stimulated senses! To forget everything, including our own names! Folded away between fresh sheets, breaths still tasting of after-dinner mints, one heartbeat away from the spent flesh of all our fondest desiring . . .

Still undergoing revision as of Tuesday morning.

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