Another Midnight


Another midnight, Brother.

We have spent many together--

Too many like this one.

Too many.


I try to read but

I can see only your eyes. 

Your amazing blue eyes.


The steady sound

Of the big clock in the hall

Mocks my restlessness. 

Over and over it tells me

To wait, watch--wait, watch.

As if I have to be told.

As if there were anything else to do.


wait-watch   wait-watch


But you are silent, Brother.

Even the hush of your breathing

Is lost in the clock's insistent advice.


wait-watch   wait-watch


But how long?

How many hours?

Just tell me.  Somebody tell me.


It was before noon

We carried you to your bed,

Pale and quiet.

Only a smear of blood

On your forehead

Told that you had been thrown.


You did not hear Murdoch

Raging about the "damned wild horses"

Or feel Maria bathe the dust from your face.


But did you feel my hand holding yours?

Did you hear me calling your name

Until Sam sent me from the room?


Surely there is a special way

Brothers speak to each other

Without words—

Even without thoughts.

Please.  There must be.

There must be.


Sam's words still echo inside me:

"When he wakes..." and

"We have to just wait and watch."


wait-watch   wait-watch


Those other midnights have come and gone

When I watched you, sick with worry.

But you have waked from all of them

And come back to us

Healthy and strong.


But how long can you cheat the darkness?

How long before a midnight like this

Brings a dark dawn filled only with weeping?

How long before you do not wake

And are gone from us?  Gone

Beyond our hands, beyond our prayers.


I have ached over the times--


When there must have been

No one to stay by you

At midnight--

No one.  Only the cold stars.


I would so gratefully protect your life

With my own, keep you

From any harm.

But life is not arranged so.


What I am given is another midnight,

And the counting of the clock,

And the privilege and pain of

Waiting, watching until you waken.




"Hey, Scott..."

"Hey, yourself.  Welcome back, Brother.  We were beginning to worry."

"No need.  I've had--"

"--a lot worse.  I know.  How do you feel?"

"Head hurts some."

"Why don't you close your eyes again?  I'll be right here."

"It's late to be up, Scott.  What time is it?"

"Just past midnight, Johnny….a little past midnight.”




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