More disturbing than any dream, any accidental vision: the tabloid Midnight,
with its cheap ink that you could almost taste, kept me from yielding to sleep.
Mutant babies, men maimed by trains, all the horrors of a carnival sideshow
smudged my hands. I couldn't keep myself from reading it.

Roberta brought it to pass the time while my baby brother napped.
She lived in South Central LA, and drove her dark blue Pontiac
up the hill to our house every morning wearing her white uniform
and crepe-soled work shoes.

At night, I balanced my pillow on the soles of my feet and counted to three thousand
to pass the time until the disturbing images subsided. Sometimes they'd linger
all night long.


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