I’ve become a night watchman.
I turn to this side and that side,
finally sit up in bed
and scan the darkness
for travelling truths.
As guidance emerges from the cracks in my wall,
I count myself among that class of good-natured watchmen,
who cross-examine visitors with riddles
from rickety wooden towers,
and hoot along with the barn owl
at the faded stars during
the idle morning crawl.
Here they lay across my piano,
silhouetted against a blip of streetlight:
a mound of worries leans against a stack of hopes.
In this moment I’ve drifted to my family,
because three brothers drift
out of a fourth’s distracted life
if one doesn’t take a watchmaker’s care in love,
or a watchman’s sense of duty,
which I think must be born from love.
At my watchman’s post, the room begins to soften
like ice cream left on the counter
and clarify like a nut straining
against the threads of its bolt,
and the clink-clank of the watcher’s brain
starts to match the whoosh-wush
of air through the floor vents.
Seeking counsel from the friendly dark,
the black beyond time, I whisper
Hello, I can’t decide what to do
tomorrow afternoon, or less still,
the weeks beyond. It’s the worry of wasted time
that bothers me, for how evil would
those moments be, if soaked in regret?
Now that thoughts start to rush out of the closet
like clothes ready to dress me,
I wonder if I’m less like a watchman
and more like a hot air balloon pilot
gliding low over New Mexico sage and sand,
plucking wisdom from blue tin roofs
for the journey ahead.
Or maybe I’m watchman in a balloon,
and my jurisdiction changes with the wind.