In the Night

Last night I had a nightmare. I might re-create the conditions - too much coffee too near to bedtime, freshly laundered sheets smelling of lemon verbena - if it meant another poem scrawled through gummy eyes by bathroom light. The windstorm that is your breath in my ear when I've woken from a nightmare. On my back, clammy with fear, your body circles mine like two links of chain; heavy limbs wound tight as sheets I might've drenched if the dream had been allowed to run its course. Instead I stir fevered from bed, eyes peeled as grapes or slivers of tape, hoping to stay awake long enough to avoid going down that dark stair into someone else's leaden arms.

I haven't written poetry seriously in years. My mother keeps a book of it I wrote in junior high school, a single dumb verse to a page, and I think it's best that's as near as she comes to my imagination.