4 a.m.

By: Magda Werkmeister

a house can feel like a whole world
when you’re lying in your bed at 4 a.m.,
too early to rise in a coup against the lingering stars,
too late for the soft black of the backs of eyelids to last long enough,
light switch flipped up so as not to have to stare at the dark
but staring at the slow meandering of the fan is not much better.

the stillness is eerie, unsettling, unnatural,
as though you are invading upon a time too sacred,
a holy time sensing that you have stumbled upon it.
you would think that music could ease the tension
and it does for a while until you hit the space between songs
and that silence screams with a pitch unprecedented.

it’s the nervous sort of false serenity,
a deer in a meadow with ever-twitching ears,
ready to flee but not yet sure from what,
and then you realize you are fleeing from yourself,
fleeing from what you are because you don’t truly know
when you are the only one alive in the twilight.

4 a.m. exists only in our guts and in our poems;
confrontation of self exists only within.