An hour more of dark before dawn. Asleep. But now the alarm, the toilet, cold water splashed on my face, somehow into pants and shirt, gathering ingredients of the day–bag, lunch, key– okay– and I’m down. Wedged in the couch warm in the sweater, the pet rat’s tiny heart pulses with contentment, nested by my big slow heart. Can’t stay here, we can’t stay like this for long– but not yet, not yet to go and be human. It’s two minutes free of any presence of mind, just me and the other animal, tired and awake and breathing here now. And in the marrow of my bones, I thank God for stupor.

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