We walk a littered verge dividing field from street—two small figures, one large figure—aiming for a car crouched in the dark like a stalking animal. The moon’s lost, hidden by swollen clouds—I stumble and keep going. One grabs the other’s ball or doll, clashing as old as time but tonight I snap, manhandle them in, flip the ignition, stomp pedal—and only then discover that one isn’t buckled. I brake and reach for the backseat, skin already rigid, teeth clenched. They are old enough to know better—I justify midshriek—the sound shocking even me. Their eyes are wide and distant as Jupiter’s moons. We drive in astral silence while I steer us around each shadowy corner, even the trees turning away from me. Sudden brights fill the rearview mirror, making me squint in the unwanted light and still the silence, another kind of taking away, pervades the interior. We will travel that way for a long, long time. The moon gleams like an ear scrubbed clean.