The Maynard
Spring 2016

Stuart A. Paterson

Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers

Night vibrates to the far-near saw & hum
of motorway & airport, now & then
gets gutted by high otherworldly screams
wrenched out of helpless animals
or those we dare not think about
for fear they might be out there.

Mostly, though, this place limps past
on crippling clocks, a creaking door,
low-volume late-night TV shows, a lonely
child’s baby snores along the corridor,
the whispering nib occasional on forms
defining lives, routines, ourselves.

In daytime, chaos kicks you from behind
or chucks a cup or sets off fire alarms
& runs away while telling you to go & fuck
yourself. At night, it sleeps the way that
children should, wrapped tight in cartoon
duvet covers, cotton wool & splayed
like spiders, limbs akimbo on soft beds
in rooms knee-deep with vital clutter.

Silence, here, is bought by tiredness
of every kind, not word or plastic panacea,
& through it, every night, I walk afraid
of waking them before the crashing
sound of one more day that really breaks.