Robin Gow- “nocturne”

my neighbor walks loudly upstairs
it has to be purposeful
he knocks on the floor in threes
he walks on his hands upstairs
a perfect handstand
my head is upstairs
just my head               heavy with my neighbor’s shoes
my neighbor walks in my head
taking steps     only in threes
i remember my uncle told
me that one summer he decided
he would stay up for as many days
as possible
he lasted three
i see my uncle as a boy who walks
in my head and also walks upstairs
i see my uncle who stands
in the corner of my room for three days
all the days      in one night
and tells me to stay up with him
tells me to keep him company
i never asked him what happened
past three days
i stand on my bed which
makes me feel tall
i walk on my bed        back and forth
and there are no neighbors below me
but i wish there were
so they could hear me
so that i could be like
my neighbor walking upstairs
in my head
my head walks upstairs
with shoes on
dressy shoes that i don’t own
they sound leather brown
they sound heavy like hooves
my neighbor has hooves
and walks upstairs in my head
and i have hooves
but i just stand up
and decide that at night there
is nothing else in the world
other than our neighbors
and i walk on the ceiling
of my head so that he can
know what it feels like
to lay so full of heads
and full of walking
and full of not sleep
my uncle puts his hands over
his eyes
shakes his head
i tell him that it’s time
for the both of us
to get some rest but
he says he needs to keep going
says that his neighbors
are living right behind
his eyes
and he opens them
and i see their silhouettes
men with heavy shoes
maybe they’re my neighbors too
maybe i made him stay up
all those days
and i tell him that i don’t
want to try to sleep anymore tonight
that i’m scared to try
because that just makes everything louder
my head          stomping in my neighbor
my neighbor rolling back and forth
like a bowling ball
his body gone              heavy and smooth
across someone else’s hardwood floor
i tell my uncle he should
sleep and he tells me that he won’t
not until i do
and i say not until neighbor does
so         we make him stand with us
on my bed where the mattress
muffles his heavy shoes
and he can pace
so much noise