AWAKE IN SLEEP
I lie in bed
with my ear pressed
against the thin skin of darkness
and listen to the beat of the overhead fan.
It rustles papers on your desk.
Words live there,
scribbled in a piece perhaps
unaware of its own ending.
Across the room,
a cloth covers the clock’s glow.
You did that,
did not want to wake in the shadows
to see how much time was left,
But I cannot unknow,
dressed in an ill-fitted black suit
I never wore before,
cornered near the front door
on the edge of a hardback chair
while a greasy scoop of casserole
gelled on a lap-balanced plate.
naked in thin skin,
I think of the words
on that restless page on your desk
and wonder about your story’s end,
about something unfinished,
like that ghostly presence
of the absence of you
sitting in your chair
slump-shouldered and so unaware
of what’s still left unwritten there.
marks day’s end,
a water-colored slate washed
by the brown-stain rinse of tenements
brushed in sunset shadows
where neon-splashed pavements
frame considered corners of traffic and heels
sketched in passing.
with café candlelight,
a yellow flicker for a sidewalk tabletop
of coffee rings and over-flowing cigarette ash
stubbed in glass
while the sass of night,
often sought for the right price,
leans against a wall
to be taken home.
© Akeith Walters 2021
For Akeith Walters, words are the art of his heart. His literary credits include publication in a numerous online and print anthologies and literary journals. At day’s end, he likes to sit with a mug of ice melting in bourbon while he contemplates the difference between poetry and prose. The latter is more difficult to pen down, but sometimes when the room quiet and still, the stories will hang around like cigarette smoke exhaled in frustration.