Night terrors


Inquisitions begin the moment

the head hits the pillow.

Night breeds thoughtfulness

that flow day obscured

with distractions,

eddies and ripples

in the stream of life.


The judges take their places

around the perimeter,

gavels and briefs in hand

questioning the mind

with words spoken, left unsaid

omissions and things left undone.

Sleep, a distant dream.


The tossing, pillow adjusting

signs of bad conscience,

Promises to do better,

plans for the future

abstractions for a new day

made, contemplated, shuffled.

Night grows in secrets.


The cacophony at the edge of dreaming

starts when the judges clatter

into their chambers

to determine the sentence.

Decisions roughing the limn,

the descent quickens,

the bottom nearing.


Inquest over the body

moves into slumber;

a moment of peace

before guilt rushes in

and insomnia pounces.

Revenant, the patient gasps

turns over, winces.


Interrogations end at dawn.

Lessons unlearned

The day lurches forward.

The judges, silent,

maintain watch.

Published by

Patrick Dobson

Patrick Dobson was founded in 1962. He is a writer, scholar, ironworker, and poet who lives in Kansas City, MO. He is author of two books with the University of Nebraska Press, Seldom Seen: A Journey into the Great Plains (2009) and Canoeing the Great Plains: A Missouri River Summer (May 2015). Dobson is a work in progress until termination.

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