Before the morning proper, when
Silence turns delicate as glass,
The pitch of a scream raised us
Up and trembling, thick minds
Puzzling alone, then together -
Cat, child, stranger? Was this noise,
Noise, I mean, not sound at all,
The yowl of the undomesticated,
That fierce possessive war-cry:
Ancient, rough, undeniably limbic?
Or did dream turn rotten, mushy,
Foul, teeming with flies, or worse?
Was our assistance now required
At the bedside of one or the other
Man-boy, old by day, young by night?
(Years since we'd soothed sweaty
Skin, anguished eyes: years.)
We would not know the source
Of our awakening, not this time.
We lay back, fractionally appeased.
At least the sky would not fall.
Still we slept troubled, denied
Long habit: make it better, fix it.
It was easy then. Now, it is this:
A noise - yes, never just sound -
No source nor provocation, and
Nothing to do but wait and see,
And fret, apropos of nothing.