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Poem of the Night Shift

  by Maggie Glover
 

We welcome October.  At 6am
the light glows through our curtains’ blue flowers,
waking me. You are just home from work,
in the kitchen,  peeling back the foil of the leftover spaghetti,
pushing the buttons on the microwave: beep, beep, beep.
Each night, you are the press-man,
Loading ink into each machine
as it shoots out page after page of glossy posters,
cable deals, the next concert at the City Theatre,
the new Whole Foods opening in Wetzel.
Your hands are stained with their messages,
a splatter of black here, blue beneath the nail,
a tear in your thumb from the feeder. I think,
how long can we keep it up? The back-and-forth,
frying pancakes in the pan without a handle,
sleeping in the same bed but not together?
We have one hour
until our bedroom breathes me out
the same way it breathed you in.
I roll over onto my left side. Shoulder, elbow, palm:
you fall over me as I fall back into the dream
where I am among the red mountains,
a purple storm flashing: an indulgent ordeal
of color and noise. I awake with the dull impression
that something has happened, somewhere, again—
climb out of the cotton sheets as you move
to the center of the bed. The answer is:  
we’ll do it until we don’t do it,
feeling the cold floor beneath our toes
as we shift in and shift out,
the birds outside our window gathering the wounded
into the shape of their flight.  And we wait.
 

    Mantis 11

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