Unable to Sleep in the Heat

Oppressive night, so thick

with the heat, air clots in

the lungs, and humidity leaves

a stain on the skin as florid as

a bruise that darkens, then deepens,

as the night goes on and on and on.

Long necks from the overworked

fridge, lose their chill at the lips,

beading, condensation like sweat

bubbles on brown textured glass.

There is no taste to it going down,

is a kind of carbonated pain,

six swallows kills, and then it is time

for another. And another after that.

Drinking solves nothing when sleep

refuses to come. The street hazed

by heavy fog, static haloes of street

lamp light disfigures the pavement

into odd shadows beyond definition.

Lazy eyes droop as the stillness

becomes a weight pressing into

swollen flesh.  Somewhere, up the road,

over the hill, sirens; the smell of

something burning, black plumes of

smoke rising from a glowing place

streaked by embers and crackling

light as an animated, nearly silent tableau,

so unreal, even the unmistakable scent

of death that accompanies it fails to

change the presumption that this night

might never end.

Alan Catlin has been fortunate enough to publish several books in the last two years.  Most recent titles include, Asylum Garden: after Van Gogh and Memories Too(Dos Madres) and The Road to Perdition (Alien Buddha).