By David B. Prather
You’d think darkness enough
to lull, but the streetlight flares up
at the foot of the bed, burns all night.
Some parts of the world fall deeper
into their shadows, and some
shape themselves into creatures
you cannot name. I cannot name
all the reasons why I am unable
to remember my dreams. I turn
the television on again, middle
of the night, just so I’m not alone
in this wakefulness. How many suffer
as I lie here? How many have no home?
I don’t even know what I would do.
Would I lean into the warmth
of a brick wall? Would I find comfort
in sheets of newsprint? Would I
steal what I need? Would I beg?
For money? For forgiveness?
For the sound of a stream whispering
over stones throughout the night?
Damn the questions. They pound
at the door, a mob, a riot to drag me
into the streets. Drag me out of my days-
old sheets, throw me in with the laundry.
The whole world’s gone stale and fitful,
and I’ve got a fistful of blanket
tucked in at my side while a movie
flickers, or the news wavers down
the walls. And the lottery picks
have been announced, but I don’t have
a ticket. If I’d won, I might’ve built
houses for the homeless, but now
I’ll never know. I’m guilty either way.
Then the sun grays the morning sky
as I close my eyes. Today, there’s no right
way to begin, not while the curtains catch
their fair share of dust. Not even prayers
Copyright Prather 2021