M. C. Aster

Don’t Go To Sleep

                                            For E. N. S.

I know, I know—you’re glued to the news as usual, listening to reports about typhoons in Asia, hurricanes and tornadoes back East, and baseball-sized hail hammering North Texas. By now you’ve heard about alligators in Florida eating people and pets, and some hunters that caught an 18-foot python. It was a record. Listen, turn off the damn TV, but please don’t go to sleep before I get there. As I drive the monochrome highways—monochrome is such a cool word—I try to puzzle out this life we have. Still haven’t figured it out, and I don’t think that TV news is helping you either. It’s raining again. I can almost hear you thinking a Noah’s flood might be coming to wash us all away. You’re watching the news again and checking the weather. So wait up, stay awake, and don’t you dare go to sleep until I’m home.

I’m on the interstate, no traffic. I was thinking that even if life is full of surprises, disasters, and sad demises, I’d be hard put to classify the end of a man who died after eating 60 hot dogs. Sixty! Such a waste, right? I’d much prefer to applaud that six-year old boy—in Ohio, was it? I’m sure you’d know. He won first prize for a batch of lemon cookies. Was any of the media saying fluffy, unkind things because he was a boy who was baking? Anyway, the rain’s cleared out, and I’m making great time. I can feel it in my braking foot and my burning fingers that you’re sick and tired of waiting. Hey, I’m home! And there you are, curled up on the couch. I knew you would be. The TV’s on; you’ll wake if I turn it off. I get a beer, turn down the lights and sit beside you. You don’t even stir. I’ll have to tell you tomorrow that when the moon shines through the curtains, it makes a really nice pattern on the wall.

M. C. Aster was born in Yugoslavia, lived in Ethiopia, and worked in Europe. Aster’s diverse background is seen in her work, appearing in anthologies, Slipstream, Meat-for Tea, Phantom-Drift, Nine Cloud Journal, Borrowed Solace; forthcoming in Painted-Bride Quarterly. Aster lives in Mentone, California and fosters two endangered Mojave desert tortoises.

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Fall 2021