I awoke from a dream so vivid and disturbing that I had to wait for my heart to stop snare drumming before I could write it down. In the interval our two parrots, a quaker and a conure, started squawking in the other room: I had overslept in the grip of the dream and they wanted their cages uncovered now, after which they knew I’d feed them. I got up and uncovered them and fed them, and started the morning coffee, then noticed that the green “clean” light was shining on the dishwasher, so I emptied that too—a task so boring that I turned on the little kitchen counter TV to distract myself from it. (Someone somewhere had blown up something or someone, several someones, probably, probably including himself; I couldn’t keep track of it all as I moved utensils and pans and dishes into their usual places.) I was just putting up the last of the plates when the coffee maker beeped, so I poured myself a tall cup, stirred in some dark vanilla and stevia and half-and-half, then headed back to write down the dream. I was surprised to find my laptop on, since I usually shut it down every night. The thought flitted through my head that the dream might have started up the machine to make it easier for me to write it down, which made me smile, and I settled in to do it. By then, as anyone but me might have guessed, the dream had vanished into the dark woods or network of caves from which it had leaped into my peaceful sleep with a low growl and sulfurous hot-spring breath. I had to admit that forgetfulness had struck again, and that leaving my laptop on was just another instance of it, with no hidden magic or meaning, no mystery even, just me and the day and these words—and the drone of the TV I forgot to turn off in the kitchen.