night shift

dogs barking at the neighbor's neighbor
children bicker behind rice paper walls
the doorbell rings, the toilet seat bangs
the air in the room is loud

she tries to quiet them.
it doesn't work.
the steady spinning electricity
of the DVD player on standby
the space heater that powers a locomotive

the little one coughs. tension. listening
until he hears her voice again
footsteps on the floors above
she's ok. go back to - can't - sleep