Today's poem is by A.E. Stallings


            —te, Palinure, petens

Sleep is a god, attending when he wills—
He holds dominion over man and brute.
He rises up like headlights over hills

With all the sea of darkness in pursuit.
Invoke him in the shipwreck of a bed,
Yet he is ablative and absolute,

Indifferent to your sentence. Sleep may shed
His mercy on you, or he may deny
The living what he floods down on the dead;

But when you stiffen your back to him and try
To hold on with both hands to what is real,
That's when the black wave falls, that's when the eye

Swims off the twisting road, the tires peal.
The world slips out from under you like ice.
Sometimes you lose your tight grip on the wheel;
Sometimes he demands a sacrifice.

Copyright © 2006 A.E. Stallings All rights reserved
from Smartish Pace
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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