In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

I Should be Alone: Poem 24



It’s five in the morning; I should be alone,

the only one up in this house,

as I finish what I started twenty-four hours ago,

this poetry marathon, a sleepless creative

hell of my own making, only because I have

to work in two hours and then fry myself on

a soccer field after that–ah but sleep.

She’s just around the turned corner of the morning.

But who do I hear creaking the floorboards above me?

It’s she who sometimes doesn’t sleep at night.

The insomnia came after the concussion, that kick

in the head just over one year ago.

I saw her asleep at eight, while I was on poem fourteen.

I’m not surprised to hear her stomp, stomp, pull open

a drawer, stomp, stomp, and plop into her squeaky bed.

I had forgotten how quiet the night was in my room

when she was away at college up north, playing soccer.

But at this hour, this sacred sleep hour when no one

arises or goes to bed, I lay in my bed, IPad propped on

my naked belly, the screen’s light, casting a shadow on

the ceiling while the fan blows white noise about me,

and struggle through the last “poem” of this marathon,

the final, number twenty-four, for which I am thankful.



Post script: This was the last poem of a grueling 24 hours, and as the hours plodded on, my poetry became more prose blips or journal entries than poetry, aside from the form.

So, is this really poetry? What makes a poem? Inquiring minds need to know.

6 thoughts on “I Should be Alone: Poem 24

  1. In my opinion, that’s the beauty of poetry. It can be anything you choose and in any format. Sure there are “defined” structures in poetry; but, this work here, definitely poetry. Beautiful piece. I felt like I was in the house with you.

  2. What makes a poem different from a story or an essay (imo) is that poetry primarily conveys emotion, not a message, while the opposite is true for stories and essays. In this poem, though it wasn’t lengthy, there was so much emotion expressed: the insomnia, the anxiousness to finish, the gratitude, and the injury of the daughter, something that grabbed me instantly as a mother. I was very focused on that; not everyone might be. That’s what is so wonderful about poetry, to me. Readers can find these gems that the poet might not have even intended to be important. In a poem, everything is important though.

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