The Small Hours

By Vona Groarke Vona Groarke
A joyrider rips up Lockland.
It takes barely five minutes   
for a precinct helicopter
to dip and swivel over lawns   
and two opposing lines of cars   
parked innocently snug to the sidewalk.   
They haven't found him yet.   
Every couple of minutes or so,   
my blind soaks in outrageous light   
and the helicopter hauls its drone
and feud all over my backyard.   
There's a fan over my bed
that says similar things in summer:
adages, reproach and rhetoric.
I talk too much; give far too much away.
In mumbling my company, I reckon on
a twofold payoff: some echo;
being found out, consequence.
I lie low. Minutes swell.   
He must be out there somewhere,   
lights switched off, crouched and bundled,
foot within an inch of the get-go.   
I pull the comforter up over my ears,
count to forty-two, then start over.   
I'm trying, trying hard, to hold my breath.

Source: Poetry (December 2007).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2007
 Vona  Groarke


Vona Groarke publishes in the US with Wake Forest University Press. Her latest collection is Juniper Street (2006). She divides her teaching time between the University of Manchester in the UK and Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

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SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment

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