Daily Archives: January 15, 2017

January Dreamers

The sleepers wake in January
and wring their white hands.

They turn to each other,
pale and damp, and say,

did you feel that? A sort
of wave in the air, 

a plunge in the temperature?
Maybe we dreamed it. 

Maybe it will go back
to how it was. Maybe, even,

it’s still the same and we know
it will go back. Yes, we’re sure

of it. Let’s stay up a little while
and wait for that and then

we can fall again to sleep
under the warm cover.

So they sit up and wait
until the air cracks even colder.

They shrug and go back 
to sleep, dreaming 

they will always have enough cover
to stay warm, dreaming

of spring’s return,
of fire on the hearth at home,

all the way to Beyond The Cold,
back to the Used To Be;

when they do not wake,
their dreams having been  

trumped by the cold,
they are eventually pulled

from their beds and tossed
alive and unbelieving into

newly built pyres
of an ancient design.


Studies

What the just-born have learned:
how to breathe. How to 
sleep and wake. How to be terrified 
and then be loved. Hunger,
cold, how to cry for all apparent
and invisible reasons and 
have no regrets for being alive. 

What the just-deceased have learned:
how to fall asleep and stop
breathing. How to be loved,
terrified; how to surrender hunger
as they cool. How crying works;
how regrets do not. 

Somewhere in between,
some days closer to one,
some days the other, you will find
the rest of us, grading on the curve
or praying for pass-fail.  You will find us
hoping for an incomplete, a make-up,
extra credit. You will find us as we
rarely find ourselves:

working too damn hard.