Borrowing Electricity

Lance Larsen

Everything comes down to numbers but nothing 
is finite, not me waking at 3:47 a.m.
and not fifty feet of power cord snaking out my window.
Can sleep be factored or does it dream
its own dark prime?  Four days ago, Jacqui miscarried.
Last night, Guillermo from next door,
looped in power cord, knocked just before midnight.
Electricity cut, he said. He made a motion 
across his throat. We borrow—one day. 
It was a question but his mouth couldn’t find 
a place for the question mark. 
We pay, oh yes. He meant the three 
Guatemalan workers he shared a one-bedroom with.
Their apartment identical to ours,
but reversed, as if one had dreamed the other.
We pay and we pay. I walk to the window, 
which puts half a room between me 
and Jacqui’s slow breathing, and two thirds 
of a dirty moon flat on the parking lot. 
Now the math is easy but untrue. 
One parabola of electricity equals 
three parking stalls equals five thousand drilling 
cicadas. And the other end of the cord 
twists through their sleep. Is the body an abacus 
that tracks nights alone?  Four mouths, 
eight eyes flicking back and forth, one breath. 
Men who baby the yards of the rich 
and send grimy twenties home inside novelas
Seven-watt Virgin, bathe me in blue
patience. Count lost heartbeats, clock radio.
I am waiting for 5:00 a.m. mariachi tunes 
to leak from their room into my body, for mourning 
and accordions to equal the last Thursday in June.