A prayer lifts itself from my mouth
between tight teeth and soft lips,
grows wings, leaves like a moth by the window
trying to find the moon,

sings, as the moist earth cools below.
As always, twilight has come too soon.
Lifted by light like a Chinese lantern,
I watch the night sink, its star burn.

I kneel at the window and breathe.
Between blood and bone, somewhere underneath,
my apathy makes peace with my loss.

These days I wonder if I ever lost anything at all.
There is no sore from any war,
no bruise or cut from the fall.
The lack of colour in my sunken face
leaves me with pity, without grace.

A secret, the obsession, weighs in my hand
like some ancient possession,
heavy not just in form but in metaphor.

You – sweet, unbelievable you –
are the ghost inside my dream,
the needle unstitching my every seam,
the psychopathy in an abstract crime,
teasing the innocent made to do time.

As always, I digress,
spinning, unraveling,
into fevered mess.
Night holds me hostage,
my pleas unheard,
the nature of punishment
nothing short of absurd,
while the realism in you fades
to become the rejection in me.

A prayer lifts itself from my fingers,
and for just a second its notion lingers,
hard in my flesh, my pores.
Haunted, resigned, I watch the night soar.

The morning is no less black
than its preceding twilight;
you are coming back,
but just not tonight.

Shaunna Harper's picture

Shaunna Harper lives and works in the UK, and is an avid writer of both prose and poetry. She has had poetry, short stories and a novel, Homelands, published.

Last updated February 11, 2014