How do I know I’m asleep?
Lying in between windows
Of sleep and waking in the pre-dawn hour
as the birds awaken
The only sound
The rustling of the sheets and my own breath

I hear the breeze through the open window
And think it is part of a dream, hours
Too early to be awake.
I turn and make a sound
Is that the wind, or my breath?
Am I awake, or asleep?

Always at this early hour
I find myself reluctantly awake
And listening to the sounds
Of my own and the house’s quiet breath
I want to be asleep
One more brief nighttime window

But here I am—awake,
So maybe it’s a sound
Idea just to rise and breathe
In the coming day. Why sleep
When the open window
Beckons the new hour.

Not a sound
But my breath.
Even the birds are still asleep
Outside the still-dark window
At this early hour.
But I’m awake,

I think. I let out my breath
And turn again to sleep
To drift away beneath the brightening window
Barely aware of the hour
I spent awake
Listening to the night’s waning sounds.

The wind breathes outside the window
Lulls me back to sleep, awake
No more to the sounds of the early hour

Form: sestina (cheated a little by making it free verse because damn, rhyming this form!)

Here’s the other side of dawn, from the beginning of the cycle.

10 thoughts on “The last hour, 24: just before dawn

  1. Your line breaks make this interesting.

    “Barely aware of the hour” a hint at the actual time,
    or “So maybe it’s a sound” with a second meaning,
    and “Lulls me back to sleep, awake”

    Nice use of enjambment.

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