Joseph Brad Kluge
from letters left unanswered
    Saint John's Wart   

    I look for rest   
    where Saint John failed   
    to tread   
    for a communion    

    sprung from seeds   
    brewed from a potion   
    off a witch's nose   

    when you leave   
    i fear the emptiness
    left behind

    sheets worn threadbare
    on your side of our bed
    from restless nights 
    trying to catch your scent
    from the pillow where 
    I still occasionally
    awake with a stray
    blonde hair across my lips
    as though you just recently
    left, i listen for some sign
    the sound rain tinkling
    a light beneath the bathroom door.

    i have to try  not to feel   
    at all    
    and can only escape   
    into a restless sleep   
    that i sometimes pray   
    never to wake from   

    and try not to dream 
    to avoid the disappointment   
    that follows me where there   
    is no escape but to wake   
    heart racing from so great   
    a fear that quenches   
    the soul more than any brew   
    can calm    

    each blend of lotus   
    soothes the soul   
    at the heart's expense    

    i slept forever   
    afraid to wake   
    afraid to sleep   
    from nightmares    
    i can never remember    
    clearly enough to confront   

    so brave a face   
    can never shield   
    the tenderness 
    of a subtle heart.   

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