When I'd reeled my heart back in, palms wearied and blistered in their labor over the spool I turned out to have been holding all the while, I did indeed ask it where it had been and what it had seen.
All are where they're supposed to be, it told me: He is taking his pictures. He is missing his wife. She is piecing her projects. She is barking obscure dreams in her sleep. She is rocking her baby. He is loving his small friend the wooden 2, dreaming of his cube. He is watching television, thinking about savings. He is writing his poems, dreaming of what he wishes for his life. She is cradling a small body with her ampling one. He is standing at a podium singing the songs of his yearning. They are settling in with their furry boy. Some of them are up north. Some are west, some east. A few are even south, and more will be there soon. When you start listing you think of more and more and you realize that you don't even know where some of them are. And they are so scattered and they are all constellated and they are all unknowing in their quiet places in the loose confederation of your self, they are all scratches circling this candle, your small flame to the glass in this small town's large dark.
And yes I said yes, I would light a bigger fire, circle everyone up, settle them all down. From here the best I can do is sing them to sleep. Gentle down the temporal, stroke smooth the sounds of day. Ease, o ease the even teeth. Slacken the strong jaws. Lighten the eyelids and pool those sweetest dreams. Keep the night vasts at bay. Float the arms through their sleeping. Bless the fingertouches that joy their waking. Yes I am all alight at my watch, my wish, my wanting. Yes you are my emissary.
And then my heart said, what were you doing all that time I was out dipping and wheeling? And I said, I was at work on the slips and the sparks and the streamers you'll take up with you next time. I'll knot them into the lines soon enough. For now don't leave; things go so hollowly with me when you're away.
Already I could feel it gathering to go.