6 a.m. (2nd prize: 2014 Competition)

Love, I felt you leave our bed last night,

I heard you dress and go.

Hush-deep darkness hinted it was late.

You barely left an indent in your pillow,

your coat hangs on the chair. I’ll doze for two.

It’s getting light.

 

A haunting sends you walking from your dreams.

Gin repairs instead;

shame, taking root when morning comes,

by dusk has crammed a forest in your head

and beating some path out of there is hard.

The traffic hums.

 

It was last week, one eye sealed with blood,

you’d fallen, cut your face

stumbling on the railway line. I cried.

You swore you’d only strayed, wrecked and aimless,

needful of a rest, a stopping place,

a secret bank side.

 

It’s April and the curtains glow with spring.

Fatigue should draw you near.

I know you’re lost out there, remembering

a roaring drunk, a skull rammed on a banister,

your little gloves, the massive street, your mother

upstairs dying.

 

I’m hungry love. I’ll scramble eggs and ham

for when I hear the door

and shivering, you fumble through the room.

You haven’t stayed out quite this long before.

I’ll warm you, and if sleep can pull you under,

save you some.