Night Fright

The dark air has pinned me
warm sheets like batter
nothing moves but the dog
he hears my eyes open
his nose meets mine
on the edge
of my crumpled bed
‘what’s next?’ he wonders
me too.

The big questions take hold
why now, I’m tired, they insist
on answers immediate
accurate, polished.
I won’t look, I won’t.
Darn it. 3:23 am.

Litany as heavy as a stack
of unread books
rails from the middle-of -the-night
inquisitor, driven and relentless: What
are you doing with your life? What’s
next? What is it right? What
really matters? What
do you accomplish?
What will you do after? 
What is the answer?

Really? Now?

My dog discovers my face again
as if it is new
hanging over the side
of what has turned into torture
twisted covers, clammy
skin all licked, my nose too, good
I won’t need tissue.

I soothe my sorry soul.
“You’re fine. You’re fine.”
Daughters. Strong. Good
life. The whole bit.
Late night lecture on self
approval. Don’t look.
Darn it. 3:47 am.

Dread sits on my chest, determined
like death. Like uncertainty.
Childhood fears, anxiety,
take a seat beside me.
Go away.
Let’s play
night fright, they offer.
4:19 am

He returns to sleep lucky
dog. I won’t pee, drink
water, switch the fan back
on, look at the clock
what if it wakes me up?

Are you the best mother,
sister, lover. Friend. Are you
kind enough, healthy
calm and conscious?
When did you last talk to your brother

Please breathe away
these demons, deep
in, breathe again, push
past their silly insistence
to scare your oxygen. Sleep
like a dog
5:23 am





One thought on “Night Fright

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  1. I know that time of morning! And, this birthday thing this year, those questions, those rationalizations, and even that dog! I’m catching up, and will catch up with you, too. I’m committed this summer to make a habit of reading and paying attention to what my good friends, good writers are writing. I’m committed also to writing real letters, and either emailing them or sending them by post. Something like that. The disconnect and self-doubt that becomes haunting at 3 a.m. may disappear in our busy-ness. That’s always been one cure for self-reflection. But, maybe, my life needs a little re-wiring. I’ve lost a bit of identity and connection this past year — too many students, a teaching overload (1.2 schedule), and the damn state of our nation right now. Thank God for Rebecca Solnit — her writing keeps me somewhat on an even keel. Okay. This is more comment than you need. Good poem. Got me going….


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