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Rated: ASR · Poetry · Experience · #2153295
To sleep, perchance to dream... there's the rub.
Coffee: black and cold: lifeless,
useless against the night.

I ignore the waiting arms of
gray and pink tile underfoot,
rest my head, in embrace with
the cool, blue counter worn gray.
I push the counter away,
hoping none can see.

Place feet shoulder width apart,
fan toes out for stability.
Straighten (don't lock) knees.
Tilt head to balance.

Leaning forward, back,
feeling for the ledge,
then teetering away.
Always so near that point
where sleep becomes a force.

Desperate, I cling
to the center
where sleep pulls
forward and back.

Addled, adrift, I sway—
a leaf in the wind—
moving as I must
to keep wit and legs

Head tips back
as arms swing forward.
I forge an uneasy truce between
the sleep force before me
and the sleep force behind.

Blue and green ripple,
dreamlike, before my eyes;
the sleep force
bends my vision
even as it besieges
my stance.

Then: gears click,
doors part.

Enter the black-hooded wraith, faceless.
Gloved talons strike, cellophane screams.
The thing rushes toward the darkness,
pauses, flashes a pointed look: human.

Chin up, lip curled,
his sneer says all:
I could have done it, you know.
A shake of his head.

The chips crinkle
beside the smudge I left.
Cash changes hands.
The stranger exits.

Doors like glass curtains close,
leaving me to gaze
at the blue-worn-gray counter and wait
for the sleep force to encroach.
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