It is late at night
when the mind loses its way,
wandering in a space with fewer definitions
to tether it to its post of yes this and no that.

I believe I hear birds outside the window,
but I know they do not sing in the liquid black
of a damp October night.
They are moored to nests and the undersides of wings.

If I were brave, I would leave
and listen to the treble and hiss of sleeping city air,
watch how crisp the streetlamps render pavement
against the distant, softened, blind backdrop of stars,

but fear grips the small body
fearing phantom chirps in the middle of night.
Until then, it is tea and cigarettes at four a.m.
and a kitten who needs feeding like nobody's business.