Street Lights and the Light Sleeper

Laying awake,

I can feel her pulse

as her heart beats.

I can’t sleep,

but I’m at peace

in the rhythms we breathe

just for a little while,

until I’m out of bed,

on my feet,

seeking the night.


Pull on my coat

and I take one last look back,

then I am devoured

by the dark

and the street lights.

The way my car slides

through the veins of the city,

I’m out seeking the same thing,

but it isn’t flesh,

isn’t chemical;

just a face in the silent parade.


At night I just fade away,

while I know she’s safe

at home in our bed.

I go to work,

I seek my bread,

out with the creatures of habit.

Derelict daughters

under neon heralds;

they stray like their fathers.

I’m peaceful and harmless,

right up until I’m dangerous.

I don’t fear the night,

I fear what it makes us.


A job is a job.

A life is a trade.

The streets are awake,

lit without starlight,

but it’s alright.

Nothing changes,

just the name and the face.

Streetlights reflect in the long lines

across my windshield,

cracked once;

a long break that stretches end to end.

The radio is low,

playing music for the night.

There is no delight in the dark,

only stark contentment.

A child under his blankets.


It is only when the work is completed

and the return journey

has me sliding down slick, shiny streets

that I begin to miss warm blankets,

a warm body

and the rhythm of her breath.

The night may be a lover,

but my wife is my mistress.

I slip in next to her

and match her,

breath for breath.

And we sleep,

while the night lives on in the city.


HG – 2016

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