I had heard enough tales to be uncomfortable at the anecdote that takes at least fifteen minutes to tell. The storynthought of a night in jail. One of the policemen at the is so good that I don’t think I can any longer distinguish thenstation turned out to be a decent man who patrolled the beat true details of “an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrawherenmany of my friends lived, and he insisted that I be put tive” from the “artistic verisimilitude” it has accumulated,nin a solitary cell. As the door clanged shut, all I could think What I do recall quite clearly is the moment of peace thatnof was the terrible disgrace, the shame that would be opened up like the broad blue sky after a day of rain,nbrought on my family, my whole life ruined. You know how Peace is not the natural condition of human life, and fornadolescents are wont to brood, and I was worse than most, most of us these moments are rarer than an uncloudy day.nbut gradually a sense of peace descended. Since there was Peace is, however, another name for the land of heart’snnothing, after all, that I could do about anything, there was desire; it is the condition of being at home — not in this aliennno point to worrying. My mind went blank and the next universe of things and forces—but in that other world ofnthing I remember is being awakened by the voices of friends which we have glimpses from time to time in dreams andnwho had come to bail me out. myths and poems that are like mirages of oases and cities:nIn the end, this ruinous experience cost a total of thirty they are not real in the desert where they appear, where thendollars. Our director of student affairs, a fine old man named only reality is sand and blistering heat. But somewhere wenWillard Silcox, who had no particular fondness for me, kept may never go there is a real city, a real oasis where wearynit out of the papers. So far as I ever could find out, my travelers refresh themselves with pure clear water. In thenparents never heard about it, and even if they had, they meantime there is “the peace of God that passeth underwouldnundoubtedly have laughed about the incident. Over standing.” <^nthe years, the whole thing has been polished into annSleepwalkernby Dabney StuartnThe questionable old man wandersnthe refuse dump, the railroad yardsnin his head, deserted, gets out of bed,ntraverses the room, goes down the stairs,nhis pajama shirttail flapping,nthe thin cotton pressing his legs.nLook at that shin — razor sharp:nbarefoot to the wind, no more regard.nI meet him comingnout of the front door at midnight.nHe points his finger at the moon,npulls the trigger. I ask himnwhere he’s going. “Ofi^,” he says.nThe upstairs bedroom sucks at himnthrough its open window, a vacuum cleaner;nhis hair flows toward it. He liftsnhis arms, grabs a low branch of the maple,nhauls himself up. Moonbird,nlimbnesrie. The tree vibratesnfrom the suction. At its top finally,nhe hooks his toes into the ruff,nflaps his arms, flies with the treenhis wake, gone. The bedroom windownshudders, a mouth moaning.nI sit down in the great rootgapnhis takeoff has left me, his will,nhoping to die in such arms.nnnDECEMBER 1990/15n