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I couldn't hear the ticking sound. They ran through my pounding head, over and over. There were goats and sheep and the little clothes that they wore when it was all fresh, when nobody had to know everything.

There was a woodpile, and things went wrong. Flashing lights smelled like fear, sharp even with my eyes closed. It's too much to hold when we can't find our arms. Flowing through the veins from one to another, taking away the chances for the gold.

Thirty-three is a long-playing record. That seems fitting, watching the revolutions which only break rhythm where there has been a scratch or flaw, which is often these days.

The lights: there they were again. She spoke slowly, poignantly.

"So how did you get here?" Her voice was animated; her sincerity was palpable.

I looked at her then, when words were peanut butter in my mouth.

"It's got to be a calling," she decided out loud, "because nobody's just going to do this."

I wonder what comes after thirty-three. Donuts, maybe. It's just a number.

Two times in forty-eight hours.

In between, a car ride with my love, beets, pistachios, and goat cheese. Chocolate cake, shared in celebration of 33 years. A concert, lilting voice from long ago, back to the time before we knew what we shouldn't have had to, with people that knew who we used to be.

There was blood on the ceiling. Talking too much into tomorrow when they took your sleep--all of it. It's just a passage. The pine tree grows as the child, fear of severing the life force. He can't stop moving or talking. We got the time wrong.

"I hate this place." We can't stay here anymore, but we keep coming back.

The hives are enchanting from the outside. The queen could fail and no one would know. Nobody sees what's inside; no one knows how close we are to falling apart.

One day we'll look back from the other side, or we won't, but still we'll know how much it mattered. Every note, every beet.

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