The clock is ticking, ticking in the dark:
the incessant rambling of one who doesn't sleep.
Interrupting the hum of silence, it is the never-ending song
of tiresome monotony. And I cannot see its face;
I can only hear it. When will my consciousness fade
to dreaming? The red numbers of a digital clock

are glaring at me—12:31, 12:32, 12:33. This clock
is mocking me. Why am I afraid of the dark?
Fears harnessed for the night only to fade
by morning. One sheep, two sheep, three sheep (sleep!)
and the clock is still ticking, ticking; I face
the wall, humming my sleepless song.

And what good are lullabies and songs?
They do not work to trick the ticking clock,
or trick me into slumber. I cover my face;
it's too warm underneath the blankets—and too dark.
My mind is too filled with stories to sleep,
and I won't sleep for fear that they will fade.

Too filled with today, with shameful things that do not fade,
and are intertwined with the ticking, ticking of the clock's song.
What do I do? How will I fall sleep?
Five hours until I have to wake up. 1:58, 1:59, 2:00 o'clock.
Five more hours until it's light, not dark.
I close my eyes and see your face

because I miss it. I wonder if your face
has changed. The ticking, ticking of the clock has faded;
I hear the lonesome sound of a coyote in the dark.
A sorrowful howl, a mournful dirge, a melancholy song
for the waning moon—and it's my song. The clock
can never be my one melody: repeating, dull as sleep.

3:17, 3:18, 3:19 (I promised not to look) and still I can't sleep.
Four hours until I have to wake up. Dreams scratch the surface
of my mind, overcome the ticking, ticking of the clock,
beat the rising of the sun. And my stories begin to fade.
My worries are as far away as the coyote's song,
and as black and baffling as the ominous dark.

And this ticking, ticking clock is coaxed to sleep.
(And in the dark, I'll dream of faces.)
And slowly fades this restless sing-song.