“Your Sleep” by John Grey

is a ritual of memory and fantasy,
below ground, above water,
a dream with music
the moment you drift off to sleep,
broken here and there
by a bruise of snore,
the past coming in odd shapes,
rolling in like a tide,
darting through the room,
making a dent in the pillow.
floated and falling,
flooding the room
or funneled through the last thought
your head held before dozing;
it’s a sonata
played for you each night
by an orchestra of absent musicians
who make you feel
buoyant and protected,
who imagine you
as much as you imagine them.
You do not know I’m in the room.
I don’t hear the song.
I fade into the blueness
of our small bed.
While your subconscious
fills your mind with metaphor,
I insert myself into sheets,
my weight
against your weightlessness,
address the quiet face in the light
but unable to broach the activity within.
These are your dreams,
your soundtrack,
your willingness to keep good times alive,
to revive the beached bodies,
give flesh to shadow,
like a glimpse of shadow
celebrate birthdays with the ones
who never made it to that precious age,
listening and laughing,
eyes closed
melted in stillness
un-mourning the dead
washing over grief
with bouts of happiness,
time’s parallel blue plate special,
the right notes,
the superb hush,
the giddy surprise,
a game played on the present
that separates you from me.
The moonlight
is the shape of my grief.
The night sounds
are of wounded animals.
Through the window,
I see a child’s hind leg
caught in a trap.
But you know none of this,
your certainty as
white and firm as a shell.
Now and again,
your head makes a slight turn
in my direction.
But my presence goes undetected
unless, that is,
you’re relieving the day we met.

John Grey is an Australian poet and US resident recently published in Penumbra, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. His latest books, Leaves On Pages and Memory Outside The Head are available through Amazon. His work is upcoming in Lana Turner and Held.

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