Asleep like the curl of a fist. Dreams of the ocean, of forever purple deeps, of light so far down.


Black peep of eyes through lashes gummed with sleep. Grit at the corners, foul taste in the mouth. Headache. Hands and feet bloodless and cold; hot water from sink burns them into life while the toilet flushes. Rumpled face in mirror, tongue thick and coated, “Mlarghaw.”

Shower needles. Stand up, bend down, head to toe, stretch, shake, awake. Breakfast is cereal and raisins; outside the birds are alive in the trees, and the sunlight comes through the windows golden as butter, or wild honey. She takes cream in her coffee.

As she is leaving the house the alarm goes off again, the Selby Tigers shouting. As she is opening her car door Sam throws open the window and leans out, naked and gilded by the sunlight. “Be careful, Van! I love you!”

She blows him a kiss as she drives away, settles the fedora a little more firmly on her head. There were puzzles out there.