Sleep Tight Satellite: Stories

by Carol Guess


Carol Guess builds the most wondrous word-nests, each one holding something precious, each one surrounded by the world-at-large, afire. In remarkable lyrical fiction after another, Carol Guess writes her heart out.”

—Randall Brown, author of Mad to Live, founder of Matter Press


Format: paperback
Published: October 2023

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ISBN: 978-1-946482-90-7 Categories: , , , Tag:

Central to Sleep Tight Satellite is the theme of queer chosen family. This positive form of connection contrasts with violent pseudo-communities formed by policing, government control, and technological surveillance. Characters struggle to survive the pandemic, but their survival skills were honed long before the Covid-19 outbreak. There’s a gritty realism to the odd jobs characters take to survive, and the ways they create loving communities of mutual aid.

Carol Guess is the author of twenty books of poetry and prose, including Doll Studies: Forensics and Tinderbox Lawn. She is Professor of English at Western Washington University, where she teaches Queer Studies and Creative Writing. She lives in Seattle and Bellingham, Washington.

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Weight 0.95 lbs
Dimensions 5.25 × 8 in

Sleep Tight Satellite

When the pandemic hit, I drove out of Seattle. I knew a guy who owed me a favor. He let me use his winter place, a cabin for all the things he did in snow. I told a few friends I was leaving, put my dog in the front seat and a suitcase in the back. When I stopped for gas in Everett I felt like an extra in a zombie movie. The freeway was mostly empty, a few cars driving too fast or too slow, headlights piercing water-logged farmland. Nothing was open except gas stations, automated card readers still counting gallons. I got a can of soda from a vending machine and peed in the shrubbery beside a ball field. On the radio, announcers exhaled static, cutting news with upbeat music and pre-recorded interviews from The Before Times.

It took about three hours to get from Seattle to Alger. When I showed up at the cabin, the woods were dark, a thick velvety feeling weighed down at the edges. The key was hidden under a lawn ornament by the back door. A plastic deer, big weepy eyes. Inside was more what I’d expected, everything creamy white with dark gray accents, live edge wood furniture, a few throw pillows in muted blues. The kitchen gleamed silver, white subway tile on the backsplash. It was glossy and completely unrelated to the environment, to the greens and browns outside the door. Like my guy had picked up a condo on Capitol Hill and moved it to the woods. I wasn’t complaining. Not a bad place to live or die, whichever way this was going. I texted photos to friends as if beauty had brought me and might tempt me to stay. I knew I wouldn’t go back to the city. This wasn’t a vacation, a getaway. This was the start of the collapse. There would be no end to this. The President was burning the country to the ground and the sense that anyone might die at any time stopped being an existential theory and became urgent reality. I figured I was lucky. My building was eight stories high, on a busy city street, surrounded by taller buildings, people moving in and out, touching things, exhaling steam. Surely this would be safer. I wouldn’t have to wipe the door handles, change my clothes every time I went in and out, make small talk that might kill me. If I got it, if I breathed glass, if my feet turned red and my eyes rimmed pink and my head split and I didn’t have the energy to stand up, well, then. I had friends who expected a text every three days. If four days went by, they’d come get the dog…

Click here to access a Reader’s Guide for Sleep Tight Satellite, courtesy of the author.

Reader's Guide Sleep Tight