Shut Eye –

revised Aug 16


So very late now, the resolute

crickets, in the hallways of the night

Next door, the nursing home residents are sleeping

In the sarcophagi of hospital beds

Night nurses peering in

Mothers for hire


I am here at the desk, the long blueness

Of the August grass, stalling

The vulnerabilities of sleep-

3 a.m.

incarnate stillness of the very old,

the sweet breath

of children nearby.


Dreaming, we came home

the long way,

Flying along the bridge over the river

A kid flashed in front of me on his bike:

My breath caught and he was gone


Could someone play a lullabye

For we who mourn,  the fading

Women could someone

Expedite the passage

of flesh to grass


Tonight ships carrying poppies

Pull in to Marseilles from Turkey:

Who takes delivery

Of the opium, distills it:

we would breath that pure sleep,


To a recording of crickets

Soft dogs nearby,

and poppies in bursts of red

On salt-eaten walls


Sailing out

Free of the claims of the body,

Mother-ship looming out of the mist

come in for the misbegotten.