<wssi toc>


David Plumb*



This poem can't sleep.

It slips in and out of bad rhyme.

The lines bump, run on

come up short.

It hears explosions between syllables.

Smells death in the distance.

The poem blinks, rolls over

on its back. Its lover

tucks her head on its shoulder

and the poem thinks, oh yes

now I can count my breathing

finish it in the morning.

But the poem can't listen.

It keeps seeing faces.

Blank faces, white nothing

and silent screams keep the poem

running after itself.

Something, someone is dying.

The poem dodges looking for a place to hide

A fox hole, a haiku, a villanelle.

It just can't sleep with all the goings on

All the young faces, the bodies blowing up

in darkness and repetition, all the bruised

words, the onomatopoeia, alliteration

gods, tyrants, poetry flags and enormous bombs

shaped like poems for the flash

and forget, of what is, or not

that keeps it awake this time.

Maybe a glitch, the poem thinks.

Maybe start over, free itself.

Find another truth in what ever

Godforsaken hell flashes

in the poem this time.



*2009 WOOD COIN: Watch the Star-crack Spread Issue: Plumb, “Night”