A Country Known to Prayer Alone

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The night is old as sand. Underneath lie cities

where people sang ballads, passed platters of oysters

and frescoed the loggia. Our nerves are twanging strings.

Sleep like a dredger scrapes the room where our feet stare

and sift new positions. Wall, chair, bed edge. Coffee?

the nurse asks. Water? Sleep detests a vigil.

Sleep yearns for things that sink, that burrow down. The sand

is old but strong enough to keep the morning out.