Darker Than Usual

You walk through the house in
the small hours.

The dream follows in every room.
The night, darker than usual.
A kettle hisses.

Above the bathroom sink your
reflection in the mirror, years,
decades from now. Sunbaked specks
like oatmeal cover your hands.

Skin, so much skin, sagging skin.

Splashing water on your face, the
excess trickles into the porcelain
bowl struggling down the drain.
Flashes of waiting, waiting for
an infant’s wail, nurses, doctors
rushing about the room.


You pour the tea, staining the cloth.
The house, bigger at night, rugs
on bare floors, books on a table,
the hissing of an old furnace,
a curtain fluttering in its draft.

You turn on every light to see
shadows dance like strangers on
the walls. There’s no place else
to turn.

You begin the quiet ritual of the morning.

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