The world's gone to sleep, but not me;

I'm left uneasy by an owlish urge

to keep watch when watching's silly.

Sounds grow menacing to the unpillowed ear,

while the muffled one augments

a steady rhythm of breath and blood.


In breathing slow I hope to mime

the sleeper's easy speech of sighs and whispers;

in sharp jumps and half starts I fall

into dreams that disconnect without warning.


I'm adrift in the Horse Latitudes,

bobbing and rolling with the slow motion

of swells far out to sea; as if

in trying to sleep I become a plaything

to be turned turtle by nightbreakers:

no direction into sleep, no momentum.


Give me the strength to swim from this shallow chop

into the Gulf Stream's forceful seawish;

the strongest undertow seeks a single direction:

my yawn continued by the current's pull.


October 1998