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.