Another midnight, Brother.
We have spent many together--
Too many like this one.
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.
But you are silent, Brother.
Even the hush of your breathing
Is lost in the clock's insistent advice.
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
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."
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
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, 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.”