Insomnia Redux; Hotel Water Deemed Safe Despite Corpse
The house creaks, as if alive, and outside
Recycling bins rattle—magnifiers
Of underlying silence. The hour proves,
Again, she lacks whatever sleep requires.
The black seems to change, but moves
As only one darkness, with her inside.
She prods his back to see if he’s asleep,
But he’s out. She can’t understand why,
But she can’t stop thinking of the basement,
The little room almost closed with clutter deep
In winter earth, cold even in July,
Where they store Christmas ornaments,
Halloween costumes, Easter decorations.
She rises, pulls her slippers on, thinking the floors
Will be cold, and descends a staircase,
Then another, thinking of compensations
That keep her close to him, closing doors
As she goes, as if partly to erase
What falls behind her, switching on
Every light, till the house is bright
As a cruise ship stranded on the dark hill.
She pauses in the kitchen to open
A drawer, then down to the last place to light
The bare bulb in the basement. What a thrill,
To light the house as if it burns.
Then she pulls the breaker and the house goes
Black . . . He wakes, feels for her but can’t find her.
The flashlight’s bewildering beam turns
Through the house, casting a harp of shadows
Up the wall through the back of a chair,
Scaring off a cat, but she’s nowhere,
And he has to get the house lit again,
So he keeps on, room to room, until
He’s in the basement, and there,
In the small circle of light, breaker box and main.
He sees someone, kneeling and weirdly still,
Slumped doll-like, hair shrouding face.
It rises, slowly, and he’s relieved it’s she,
And then, confused, sees it’s not she at all.
Somehow, how, he can’t tell, she’s taken his place,
Behind a mask that looks like . . . could it be,
Like his face, and he’s backed to the icy wall,
And then she lifts the blade to him as she
Pleads through the slit hole of mouth “Please help me.”
Hotel Water Deemed Safe Despite Corpse
Some dawns, you want to hide on the far side
Of the sun. Your flank’s staved in, reserves spent,
Mercenaries in revolt. At least that’s how it feels.
Ill warnings lap all night in the tide.
Other news too. Rancid smells steam from a vent.
You can only wait for what a day reveals,
One more hour awash in trivial terrors.
Storms come together to make this weather,
Which, though bad, like us, won’t stay here long.
You need to get control, make no errors.
You need to focus. You need to stay strong.
When someone dies, there’s a lot of work to do.
You need to pull yourself together.
No time for distractions or to ask why or who.