September 2004 / Volume Five / Issue Four
Brent McKnight

I can see up the street
almost a mile in either direction
without seeing a pair of headlights.

the frozen breeze drives sleep
out of my eyes and mind.

a cacophony of an unseen freeway,
brittle scattering leaves, my own
breathing and footfalls
as dead as a watercolor still life.

for the second time tonight I just left
the house six blocks over from my own.

the first time you leaped up to hug me
with my front foot out the door after
barely a dozen words between us all night,
the “hope I’ll see you again soon,”
doubling the word count, ringing in my ears.

you scarcely manifested any interest
in the evenings other departures, and I think
I caught you watching me from the opposite wall
in mid-conversation.

at home, in bed, lights out, covers
tight around my chin, I was
barely able to blink, let alone sleep.
tossed by clothes back on heading back,
the rehearsed excuse
“tried to sleep,
didn’t work,”
echoing as flimsy as it was.

during a rehashed movie everyone else
dropped off like poisoned flies until
the two of us were left awake.
an uncomfortable silence in the blue light
of the empty tv screen and I moved out,
“to wander the streets, see what
ruckus I can find.”

your eyes, wide open and liquid,
offered desire to come along,
an early morning sense of obligation
keeping you housebound.

a door shuts, light drops of rain
sticking to my jacket.