I walk down empty streets, cold beneath bright constellations. Trailing steam and wishes in my wake. The clinking of house keys and dog chain, the link after link of steel fencing shine. Trees still graced by the clench of rainwater. Sidewalks cluttered with mud and debris. Houses sleep with their people stirring inside. Everywhere windows and walls.
I cough and sputter, gravel in my gut and tinsel in my lungs. Weeks past decoration days the eaves still cling to strings of light. I clear my throat and spit, the dog trotting alert alongside. Every bush could hide some enemy, every car might shelter a cat. Trouble might be anywhere, the dog is hoping. There is a clamor of stones in my right hip and left knee. My knuckles burn in the morning chill. I am all the trouble I seem to need.
I drop a few letters in the mail, cross the street as traffic burns on by. Coffee steam by dashboard lights. Ill-lit faces blurred past recognition. Step to the curb, duck the wounding branch. Live out this day's end at the edge of night. See if dawn will let me sleep. I smile and greet a meth-fueled thief, each of us finishing our rounds. Wandering towards home, I am lost in the dreams of the too familiar. I am forgotten inside the haunted house of self. Counting sheep never put a wolf to sleep.