“Insomnia & So On” and “Against the Glass”

Malachi Black
  • Malachi Black

Insomnia & So On

  • Fat bed, lick the black cat in my mouth
  • each morning. Unfasten all the bones
  • that make a head, and let me rest: unknown
  • among the oboe-throated geese gone south
  • to drop their down and sleep beside the outbound
  • tides. Now there’s no nighttime I can own
  • that isn’t anxious as a phone
  • about to ring. Give me some doubt
  • on loan; give me a way to get away
  • from what I know. I pace until the sun
  • is in my window. I lie down. I’m a coal:
  • I smolder to a bloodshot glow. Each day
  • I die down in my bed of snow, undone
  • by my red mind and what it woke.

Against the Glass

  • Rocking in my midnight robe, I am
  • alive and in an eye again beside
  • my kind insomniac, my phantom
  • glass, companion and my only bride:
  • this little window giving little shine
  • to something. What I see I keep
  • alive. I name the species, I define
  • the lurch and glimmer, sweep and pry
  • of eyes against the faint-reflecting glass
  • by what they can and what I can’t
  • quite grasp: I see a hand, still mine, outstretched
  • in an attempt to catch the stars that drop
  • as hailstones in the grass. I see them pass;
  • these sleepless fingers slip from solid into gas.

Malachi Black is the author of the poetry collection Storm Toward Morning (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), a Lannan Literary Selection and a finalist for the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. Black is assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of San Diego. 

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