Three thirty and the music stops.
The party over, voices fade
until the padded sound of night
brings at last a space to sleep.
Through skull’s wall my heartbeat
echoes still the filtered bass, unrest
rustles in the aching of my bones.

Outside beyond the creaking walls
with gargled note and tired trill
knowing the sun is climbing up
the night, the birds are tuning up.
By four o’clock their notes will soar
testing the brittle morning’s ring
and night will chorus into dawn.

I too could join the cockerel overture,
stand awash with stars, and see
bird-eyed the sun’s crisp light unwind,
head tilted back gasp down the day
made new: but eight o’clock’s my time.
I fold to sleep. Routine, for bird and me
like bass’s string, chimes out life’s beat.


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