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Mockingbird


There is a mockingbird in my chest that doesn’t sleep.

He screeches in my dreams sometimes

But now even more often.

I tell him I’m sick of it. To go.

So I ask the boss for more hours

And I ask the wife for more chores.

I tell the kids to go to bed early.

When it’s my turn, I stay in my chair.


There is a mocking bird in my chest that doesn’t sleep.

Neither do I. It’s not peaceful

And I’m alone with my thoughts.

I watch porn because I’m bored.

I drink to see retirement.

I smoke, hoping not to make it too much longer.

And in the morning, I’m hungover while he’s perched on a fence,

Enjoying the downpour, avoiding the fog settling in my lungs.


There is a mockingbird in my chest that doesn’t sleep.

No one can hear him.

I tell him not to get his feathers in a ruffle.

So I sit there at my desk,

On the mower,

At the dinner table,

In my chair.

Listening because it is all that I can do.

Listen.

I fill my life with noise and racket.

I fill my hands with purpose and movement,

But he persists.

And we go on like that.


There is a mockingbird in my chest that doesn’t sleep.

He flutters, beats his wings, contests his own reflection.

I yell and spank the kids.

I tell them that I love them.

Then sit in my chair and fuck up,

Hoping they will do better.

All the while, he’s loosening the screws.

I don’t know how to fix it.

He screeches.


There is a mockingbird in my chest that doesn’t sleep.

So we drive around,

But the bars are full and the graveyards are full and the gutters are full.

Where is a man to go?

But deeper.

Where the most alive things are the streetlights

And we can be alone, a car among a few on the fringes.

Just a silhouette and sparklight, a puff of smoke in a parking lot.


There is a mockingbird in my chest that doesn’t sleep.

I roll the windows down and invite him to join me.

I know you’re in there, I feel you, I say to him.

He hops along arteries and ribs like branches of a Bradford Pear.

He detests the music blaring, so I slowly wind down the dial,

Until he rests on the window sill.

Chirping and for a second we can all hear him.

I can hear theirs too,

And I’m okay with that.

So I listen.

Listen to them sing their sour song,

Needing to sleep.

But I don’t sleep.


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