Midnight In The Garden Of Cheese Sticks

The usual symptoms of earlier ills
for which no immunity seems to last,
tender agony with delicious pain..

Not drunk, yet still stupefied, I sat down
and watched the clock as it reached four a.m.
in the kitchen where they’d left the lights on,

her and the others. They weren’t coming back,
but I still wanted to savor the ache
that comes with losing nothing but a prayer.

That clock and I held a staring contest.
I think I had it worried for a time
until I surrendered and went to bed.

There’s alone and maybe not and no one
to save you from the feeling that will come
with distant stars the last night of your life.

M. A. Schaffner has work recently published or forthcoming in The Hollins Critic, Magma, Tulane Review, Gargoyle, and The Delinquent. Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.