Three-Sixteen A.M.


he snores on the bed beside me.
he's complete and he's sated and
he went to sleep, i think, happy.

i sit here hollow eyed and brittle,
beating the ghosts off with sticks
made of words that i delete after
writing them. it would do no good
to send them. it's just the same
thing over and over again.

"i can't..."
"it hurts still..."
"i'm lost..."

i've been saying the same things
now for longer than i care to remember.
it doesn't make it easier, it doesn't lessen
with time, nothing makes it better at 3:16 am.

i, of course, want to run again. i want to get
in my car and chase the night down the highway,
want to find myself magically back home, safe,
happy, full.

it never works that way. never. i get home and
crawl into bed or sit at my computer and compose
essays full of the same things, the same longings,
the same pains. i get there and want to get in my
car and chase the night down some other road.

mornings are good now that i am working 12 hour
shifts from 7p to 7a. i work so hard i don't have time
to spare a thought to the old pain all night long.
and in the morning when i pull into my driveway
all i can do is drag myself into the house, put on
my pajamas and fall into bed exhausted, every
fiber, sinew and bone aching from bending over
the beds of people old and waiting for death to
come set them free. elderly people who need
so much from me that there is nothing left with
which to grieve for dreams that are still lying
shattered at my feet.

"i'm sorry for the hour. i know it's late, but i need
your help."

that's what i would say if i could. i'd have one of
those cunningly cute little phones in my pocket
which i would take out and use to call you. it
would be romantic and it may just make the night,
this horrible time of the endless seeming night,
easier to live through.

oh, who am i trying to fool?

nothing makes it easier when the ghosts of
three sixteen a.m. come to call.


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