Sunday, January 3, 2016

Overread at Table 1: Poem of the Day "Midnight Chirping"

You awake near midnight from a dream in which you are writing a poem
about the crumbling cement walls and dirt roads of Assad's Syria,
and you realize that the smoke detector is chirping.

Maybe it was just the one time.

Nope.  There it goes again.

Your wife is breathing silently beside you.
The dogs shift their weight in their cages.
Mercifully, the cats are still sleeping.

There goes the beep again.
You know you will not be able to sleep until you find it.

Unfortunately, the night is dark, and the
house is spacious, an open layout, from the
second floor you can see the entire living room, and the

This makes for an open, breezy feel, makes the house
seem larger than it actually is.


When the batteries start to die in the smoke detectors,
the echo makes the offender impossible to find.

Especially in the dark.
Especially when you have been awoken from a

Still, you find your way to the office closet,
pull out the stepladder, and begin to walk around
the second floor, to each detector, pressing your ear
as close as you can, awaiting the next chirp.

They do not come in regular intervals.
Sometimes it takes so long you think that you might have
dreamed it.

Then, there it is again.
Not from the one next to your ear.

Finally, you find it, the one outside the bathroom
in between the kids' rooms.
You slide open the hatch, pop out the 9-volt,
push the new one in.  Then, you



Thank God.

You go back down the stairs, put the
stepladder back into the closet of the office,
and go back to bed.

You try to sleep.
You think of different poems.

You think of this poem.

Then, another chirp.  This time, it is 3am.

Another smoke detector is testing your gratitude to God.


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