In the distance, a dog barks. It is 1 am. It is 3 am. Round it to 4 and then 5 and I wonder how long one can howl before sound is drained.
This is New York, I whisper. Why is no one yelling.
Where is its mother/father/owner? Does it hunger. Is it cold or too warm or fearful of the evening sting on its fur. Is it tied too tightly to fence or thirsty or in need of a meal. Is this dog howling for its mate?
I feel angry at this dog for taking my sleep away and yet I also recognize our kinship. I have been howling for months. One could argue: years. In search of. Hungry for. Longing. Lost.
When the dog breaks away from its noise, I worry. My body begins to settle back into sleep and then its bellow arrives once again. The cries extend longer. Louder. Deeper. There is desperation in each push of sound.
I had a lover who led me into an alley once and told me to scream.
It feels good to let out the screams stuck inside our bodies. And there is no warning attached to these yells or fear. It’s just one giant, screaming exhale.
Sometimes one needs to extend all the rage from the body– the screeching music– in order to move on and through a day or moment.
It is dark and I cannot differentiate one rooftop from another, but I still push my way through my tall window and hop onto the roof of the apartment below. It is a far jump, but my lack of sleep removes my fear of height/injury. The bricks are uneven and they become like a ladder, which allows me to climb down further. I follow the footsteps of this dog’s howl. I am getting closer. It’s like thunder–when you count to notice whether it is moving nearer or further away.
I am almost there, I say out loud.
The moon points through its neon and though the dog is more like a moving shadow, I know I am upon it. It howls. I howl. We mourn and cry and remove our body’s losses together. Our tones differ. Mine is less deep, but more desperate. We rarely permit ourselves to just let it out.
The sky fills with our wails and I feel like the air is hugging us. We are going to be ok.
In the distance, another noise joins in. Not a howl, but more like a yell.
Shut the fuck up! says an unseen voice.
The dog and I continue just a little while longer. There is comfort in the acknowledgment of our screams. When my throat begins to hurt and voice grows smaller, I begin my walk back. Up the bricks. Onto the roof. Through my window. Back to bed.