The birds crept in through all-night fears
tiptoed around split skin and non-existent smells
that overpowered me to consciousness,
to tumbling down the stairs for calm and water.
I found the sky leaking the palest shade of blue
at four o'clock. Are my knuckles growing, joints
touching the zone of no-going-back? One leaf loops
into view, a piece of sky stark through a circle
at its base. Yet it survives its latticed shredding,
pours black with life. Later it will still be green.
Two wires, taut strings from a violin, trail
from leaf to pane in a 45 degree angle, birdless.
They've gone silent, and I'm alone in the nearly-day,
the waiting time. I've shed my gown to let heat
pour off, and now a chill is crawling. My body talks
all night, like my left-on laptop, pulsing light.
I could walk down to the beach. I could do
a downward dog, the plank, salutation to the sun.
I could make a cup of lemon tea. But I'm immobile,
seized up with anxieties, Jon's conspiracies,
Anne's tumour, Emma's paralysis, only her blinking
eyes to show that she's alive. This hour is the cruelest
time of night, when thoughts are louder and harder
to control. I smell it now, the smell that woke me up,
and remember hallucinating stinking runners,
burning fur and sour milk. Daylight's getting louder,
and perhaps I will put on the kettle, make tea,
sit outside and watch the pooling blue.
The grass and gunneras are taking colour,
I might sit on the low wall outside, listen
to the birds grow stronger, get confident myself.