The sun lays its weary body down along the land,
brushing trees pink. You are watching it sleep
but you will not sleep tonight until you are nice
and liquored up, inhaling in earnest from a pipe and
blowing the melancholy scent out the crack in the window.
It’s not late.
But with the creeping cloak of night comes an old ache,
buried in the flesh beneath your ribs, like a stubborn
internal bruise, radiating through your spine:
a dark metallic current come to stun each lobe of your brain,
separately, into submission. Obey. A scream welling up
from your pelvis, one that will never be heard. Because
if madness screams inside your skin, and no one else is around,
does it make a sound? Learn not to show it; you can quench this.
You can quiet the demons in other ways.
You can run through the cold city like your sneakers are ablaze.
You can cast emotion onto a canvas or splay it across a keyboard.
You can grope for meaning, hope God takes your outstretched hand.
You can eat pharmacy candy for every meal, wash it down with gin.
You can trust a quiet greying woman with a clipboard and a sofa.
But the ache will persist throughout the night.