“the isle is full of noises”

There’s a stranger in this house
creeps across the drainpipes
every night, rattling at the window
with a tawny fuss you’d miss
if you weren’t standing awake
caressing the cobalt shaft
of that twinkling rifle, waiting
for the rasp as the lock slides up,
the shush as his body heaves itself
into your worst nightmare —

That’s why you don’t sleep any more,
then wake wondering what exactly
you missed, if time passed
as time passes in a dream,
without sequence or sense. The stranger
is waiting for you, in stars burning
bullet holes in the black sky.
In the dream’s embers’ glow
he stalks your halls, passes through the doors
into your sleeping eyes.

The house is empty.
The palm growing there,
the photo of you grinning, together,
that’s all gone.
There’s nothing left to protect.

That’s why you don’t sleep —
Easing the heft of the friendly gun
between your teeth,
into the abyss of your loneliness,
you pull the trigger.

AJ Dehany




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