Rival Sleep

I have a rival for my darling’s heart,
that dog called Sleep. She cannot let him lie.
It is the same now as it was to start:
she loves Sleep better than she loves my sigh,
my upright passion—which will never quit—
my tenderness of touch—all naked me!
She loves Sleep more than thunder’s lightning wit
or downpour’s sonorous profundity.

She loves Sleep better even than my kisses,
and cuddles him, not me, the long night through.
When I sat next to them and heard his hisses,
snake-tongued, in her sweet breath, I sadly knew
   that deepest Sleep would keep her in the end—
   my loving never could make her attend.

E. M. Schorb has published several collections of poetry, including Time and Fevers: New and Selected Poems (AuthorsHouse, 2004), which was chosen as a 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Award winner; A Fable & Other Prose Poems (2002), Murderer's Day (1998), winner of the Verna Emery Poetry Prize; 50 Poems (1987); and The Poor Boy and Other Poems (1975); and a chapbook, Like the Fall of Rome and Other Humanitarian Disasters (1980). He is also the author of two novels: Paradise Square, which won the International eBook Award Foundation's Frankfurt eBook Award for "Best Fiction work originally published in eBook form," and Scenario for Scorsese (both Denlinger's Publishers, 2000). His poems and prose have appeared in Best American Fantasy 2007, as well as The American Scholar, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Chattahoochee Review, Chelsea, The Literary Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, The Texas Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Yale Review, among other journals. His honors include Fellowships in Literature from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the North Carolina Arts Council, and grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Carnegie Fund for Authors, and Robert Rauschenberg & Change, Inc. (for illustrations in The Poor Boy). He lives in Mooresville, North Carolina.