One Poem by Juliet Latham

Nine of Swords

You believe 3 AM is the hour
of truth, the quietest one, that
solemn date between toe and
thread count where beside you
my greedy chest rises and falls
making you hungry hungry
for whatever it is you aren’t
getting. No part of the night
is more yours than this, this
sitting up when even
mice inside the walls
have ceased scratching,
are curled around the day’s
distractions. Everyone
knows how to sleep but
you and your swords, those
flying futures certain to
decapitate while you’re
dreaming, not that you ever
really do. Do you remember when
I asked if we were the
shape passing through the
panther’s heart
and you said more like just the
panther pacing, meaning
waiting, meaning, you were.
What is it you’re afraid of missing
while I dream. What do you hear
with your eyes closed. Last night you
said, joking, that my sleep talk
keeps you up. Rilke died
just after months of rushing
streaming poetry wanting
to leave nothing unsaid. But you,
you keep the light on,
sit sentry over breathing,
make certain nothing dreamed
is ecstasy.

 

Juliet Latham lives in West Chester, PA, where she is a full-time corporate trainer. She holds a masters degree in creative writing and taught writing for 10 years at Temple University in Philadelphia. Her work has been published in a variety of places, including The Ekphrastic Review, The Journal, Eleven Eleven, Boxcar Poetry Review, Pindeldyboz, BLOOM, Monkeybicycle and is forthcoming in Rattle.

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