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"Night People"

Artwork by Monica Stewart

we are night people
we wake up at 4 a.m.
we check babies
rustle curtains
brush husbands' foreheads
watch them breathe in and out
kiss them and let them sleep.

we spend a whole day
entertaining, working, doing laundry
for the luxury of 4 a.m.
clothes folded and hung
everyone with clean undies and clean sheets
at 4 a.m. we don't mind that the sheets already bear sweat
that laundry will need to be done all over again
by wednesday.

we wish for enough money to have the floors done
the bathroom cleaned 
the tasks we really hate.

but saturday night at 4 a.m.
we stay up for the peace
the quiet
the whoosh of distant cars
a night walker dragging a blanket
who can't sleep.

we don't wish to train them
we want 4 a.m. to ourselves
we want five in the morning not to mean daylight or dawn
we want to fall in bed at five or six
have hours more of dark in which to fall asleep.
we are the original vampires
not sucking blood
merely observing that which is finally still
enjoying objects at rest
the electrons no longer awhirr.

we try to safeguard our secrets
how much we love that you sleep right through
that you moved us to the country
where the sky is so much closer.
and on those mornings when we greet the dawn
we love the daybed you've angled near the bay window
arranged for our pleasure
our glass of iced tea
purple pen
empty book
lovely stealth
of the fully contemplative

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