if who

some nights

you may experience

thought’s diamond

drop           squeezed

from an enraged

zero. strained

& so so

bitterly wrought

some nights

labour, some nights

grieve, some nights

exorcise somnolence

o who                  come middle age

can enjoy their white noise machine

their plastic anti-bruxism mouthpiece

their apnea apparatus           & allow

their subconscious to work

its internalized heresies

its backward dance

its sandpaper erasures that smooth it to sleep


as night drips

pandemic & toil

& the schoolchildren

dream of sugar’s

refined fluorescence

speed into tomorrow’s


hyped by lucky charms


locker-lined corridors

that twist into a rich dad

poor dad



& their anemic allowance

offers only

a leadership mentality

fueled by squats &

plant-based proteins

by plyometrics


feral invective

to arise

& grind – but tonight


that rare

ecstatic hour between

the internet’s thirst traps &

the pillow’s

wicked blow

is –



can afford to release

their unrealized life

into a freakish


microtonal cry

Copyright © 2024 by Kaie Kellough. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 10, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.