i. You wake up to a dim rain. Somewhere, people are working in their 5am cafes but today you are not one of them. You think blurrily about proofs and strategies but mostly you just curl tighter into the blanket against the air conditioning and retrace the last threads of dreams.
ii. You wake up and your hands feel slick. Your 3am brain processes for a minute before realizing it’s ink, damn it, and it’s on your pillowcase, too. You cap the pen and pretend you’ve seen the last of those summer nights where you have to work until you exhaust yourself.
iii. You wake up and you are surrounded by cow femurs.
iv. You wake up to the thunder and whistle of trains thrumming across the tracks at 6am, 7am, 8am. Beyond the window, egrets, whooping and great, their necks tucked into their chests like they have taken offense at something but are too upset to share what, dip in white handkerchief shapes between the mirror-clad planes of skyscrapers.
v. You wake up several times and keep falling back asleep. Outside the door, someone powerlevels their high elf sorcerer in Elder Scrolls and a cat meows impatiently for you to come out.
vi. You wake up and you have one more bed than you need. Little kids clamor at the mini golf course in the courtyard below your window, banners flap, and a firepit cackles into the mid-morning. Pipes in the walls wail, and you pretend you’re being haunted instead of going to a wedding.
vii. You wake up and it is early. It’s the time in summer where the sun just barely lags behind you and turns your whole room blue through the windows you do not yet have blinds for. You drink water from a glass jar and count the lights turning off and coming on before going back to sleep.
viii. You wake up to pancakes. You mainly eat eggs for breakfast now but pancakes have been your favorite breakfast food since when you were a kid and your mom unfailingly makes them when you visit. You put your contacts in, finish writing down the sketches of your dreams, and wake up for real. Your dogs still do not grasp that no dead things are allowed in your bed, but that’s okay. Some things take a while to learn.
i, vii: Pittsburgh. ii, iii, viii: Cincinnati. iv: Dallas. v: Columbus. vi: Bordentown.