The madwoman cannot sleep
by Ann Howells

______________again. Three nights
she has lain awake seeking images in cracked
plaster walls. Her burning eyes refuse to close.

A monk enters, silently glides the north wall--
hooded brown robe of rough-spun wool,
roped waist, sandals barely visible. She cannot see
his face, just the double-bladed axe resting on
his shoulder. a second monk follows, a third,
fourth, fifth . . . They cross the room, exit through
a solid west wall.

The madwoman feels they are, most likely,
not real. She welcomes them, finds their presence
strangely soothing as, one by one, they sweep past.
She counts them like sheep.

Copyright 2022 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.