4:13 am

By Jill Alexander Essbaum
The shift of sleepwalks and suicides.
The occasion of owls and a demi-lune fog.
Even God has nodded off

And won't be taking prayers til ten.
Ad interim, you put them on.   
As if your wants could keep you warm.

As if. You say your shibboleths.
You thumb your beads. You scry the glass.
Night creeps to its precipice

And the broken rim of reason breaks
Again. An obsidian sky betrays you.
Every serrate shadow flays you.

Soon enough, the crow will caw.
The cock will crow. The door will close.
(He isn't coming back, you know.)

And so wee, wet hours of grief relent.   
In thirty years you might forget
Precisely how tonight's pain felt.

And in whose black house you dwelt.

Source: Poetry (June 2008).

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2008
 Jill Alexander Essbaum

Biography

Born in Bay City, Texas, poet and editor Jill Alexander Essbaum was educated at the University of Houston, the University of Texas, and the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest.
 
Influenced by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Simon Armitage, and Sylvia Plath, Essbaum’s poems bring together sex, divinity, and wordplay, blithely working with received forms and displaying a nuanced attention to rhyme and meter. Speaking to this unusual . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Sorrow & Grieving, Religion, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

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