Let me tell you about winds…
~Laszlo Almasy, The English Patient

He spoke about the types of night
the way Almasy explained
types of wind to Katharine
in a sandstorm
near the cave of swimmers.

“There is not just dusk, night, and dawn
as you might think,” he said.
“Darkness is not that simple.”

His voice was both sensual
and pedagogic.

“On the heels of dusk comes
nautical twilight,
the sign for mariners to return
to the harbor for safety.
Then comes astronomical twilight
when stargazing officially begins.
True night is only from 12–5 a.m.
leaving limited time for the study
of celestial bodies.
You see, the window for mapping
the stars is short.”

She tilted her head and asked:
“So when people say ‘nighttime,’
they are likely miscategorizing it?”

“Yes,” he replied. “Just how some people
miscategorize love, given its
many forms.”

“Some people think it’s love
when it’s not?” she asked.

“Or some people think it’s not love
when it is…” He leaned into her shoulder.
Shadows from his eyelashes danced on his cheeks
and his eyes glimmered as if beholding stars.


She smiled coyly and giggled to herself.
Not because she hoped he loved her
(it was too early for that);
but because he did not yet know
she was an astrophysicist.

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