His Nightlife

for all insomniacs

I find him in the room where he will never sleep.
Where the window is swallowed by a watery light.
And there is only a clock. There is lint or spiders.
There are the shadows of the lint or the spiders’ webs.
We sit on high stools at opposite ends of the bed,
stools made of longing, of lack.
My mattress is stuffed with letters, he says.
All night I am restless with reading, reading.
My limbs have become lines that need to be written.
He says, my eyelids are seals to be licked.

I tell him the scenarios of my dreams; he has none:
…their hands were fans, articulated, and they couldn’t
blow the fires out…storms in their hair, in their heads…etc.
My family is unhappy. My unhappiness is my family.
Our cat ran away with the moon. And we eat coals.

Praying mantises climb near the light bulb to snare moths.
They spring like mousetraps. They’re selfish as dogs.
And I sleep beneath these sharp movements: advance, grasp,
retreat, and devour. Not so unlike us?

He cannot find a sock without holes. A stone in my head
is heavy as sleep, he says. But it never drops.
Can you tell me a story to forget the others? Can you go back
farther than the hands, this life with its oversight?

What random webs the lint constructs. Keep reading,
you are writing your body of fear. You are sending yourself
to someone who’s been waiting to hear from you through seasons
of floods and heavy shame. I swim in the pool of the window,
clouds so hot they drip. His stone sinks. The clock stops
and its arms tremble, insect-like.


Adam King resides in Silver City, NM, and is currently finding (or losing) himself in writing fiction and learning the art of fairy tale interpretation.

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