A metronome
of yard sounds synchronizing
every slap snap
of dead
leaves, the drone
of dead sanctuary,
the dead coming back

to rob me. Again
the trees bear
broken witness. Blind
panorama, a stampede
of hiding places. Maybe
he’s watching.
My dreams

still end
in tidal waves.
Like the other
vulnerable nights, submerged
exterior, my body in bed,
seventy percent water.
Drowning.

I had imagined
less teeth grinding, no more
apocalyptic soak-throughs.
But the buoys of ego
sleep are too lopsided
to balance
the subcutaneous

self. The same dry dawn.
The same dreary drag
of tongue over cracked
teeth. The trigger
tempts. The trigger
is just beyond
my grasp.

“First Night Sleeping with a Gun” was published in the 2013 edition of The Labletter.

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