Night Shift


I have stooped with a dustpan and brush
in the kitchen all night: pooled glittering shards

of beer-bottles, crooked stubs of John Players’ Blue
scattered like amputated fingers. Done everything

I can to stay awake. My mouth reeks of coffee–
sticky-black, glued to the bellies of jars,

stained rings on windowsills, yesterday’s paper.
Knuckle-smudged under my eyes. Piss twenty times

in one night. Stretch, cook in gummy-eyed stupor,
sit crooked at the table. I cry, still holding my mug

and forget to boil the kettle. My shadow moves
from grey to mauve across the kitchen wall

and turns the TV up. Smiling gorgeously
in her crimson shirt, a newsreader tells me

a foreign time, assures me that this is the world
and wishes me good morning, good morning

in the dead of night.


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