Sleeping, Breathing, Dreaming, Drowning

I should be the last one left awake, the
last to drown (remember? I confessed this, once, but
you were only feigning sleep--my dreams
went undelivered).

I should be the one securing compromised
perimeters (remember? I confessed I taught each dog, in turn,
the quiet laying of the head
upon the chests of sleeping children--patient, silent
tallying of breaths and heartbeats,
through the darkness, unto dawn--I confess,
they needed no instruction, but
I crept the watch beside each dog, in turn,
and laid my head upon each sleeping child).

I should be the one patrolling
labyrinths (remember? I confessed I must keep moving
in my dreams, to breathe, but
you were only frightened by kinetics--my
twitching and drooling reminded you of dogs, near death).

I should not have placed my head
upon your chest (remember? How can I sleep without
knowing if you breathe, without knowing if your heart still
beats?) Your dreams
were of the weight of the waves and of
salt water
filling your lungs.

JDP 97/05

Copyright John D Porter © 1997

Published in The Bard's On-Line Anthology (October '97)

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