When you’re five, endings are sweet.
The familiar turning of a car on your street,
in your sleep, and the sighing of brakes
before the door opens to wake you
with the cool taste of night.
Or the sound of rustling paper:
the last page falling on the story your mother
read you, when you’re already quite ready for bed:
“The End,” in all-caps whisper—
“Sleep well,” “Good night.”

She’d leave the door ajar,
and downstairs in the kitchen,
there was still life. You could hear it,
with muffled talk and drawers closing.
You knew the light in the hallway
was the world going on without you,
and when you surrendered to sleep,
you knew that tomorrow,
you could trust the promise of sun.

Today I’m not sure of anything.
I’ve seen too many endings,
had too many pages ripped from my book.
My story’s a collection of faded vignettes:
lost contexts, found objects
hiding under furniture,
rescued from gutters.
I’m trying to collect them all:
I hide the scraps under my pillow
and hold them close at night.

I’ve learned to stop believing
I can hold onto anything,
but tonight I just want to hold you.
Let the rain fall outside.
Let the clocks with their petty bureaucracy
ration happiness into small coin.
I know I’m going to have to say goodbye again.
That’s not the only reason I’m crying now—
I’ve taped enough of these scraps together
to find a picture of something whole,
and it’s all I need of peace.
Let the hall light shine outside our room tonight;
open the doors to dreams
that lift off my pages and fly.
I want to surrender to sleep again
and trust in the promise of sunrise.

© Psyche Marks 2018

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