I’m always looking for things to write about, and I’ve often turned to family memories as a jumping off point. This particular story began as a poem. It settled in as a poem for a good while, a poem that told a story of a brief moment in the middle of the night, a story that happened in the dark with only the glow of the mother’s cigarette and the lit up hands of a clock visible. I do have a brother who was in Vietnam. Communicating much by phone wasn’t possible back then. We mostly mailed reel-to-reel tapes back and forth and wrote letters. Hard to imagine in the age of cell phones. So the story sat as a poem for at least a couple of years. I found an early version in a journal, and I realized I was reading it as a story, a prose story. I began to play with it, reinventing it as a prose piece, and I ended up liking it better that way.