Night's Thief
by Bill Glose

On nights when sleep eludes me,
I picture a black-clad burglar,
ski mask hiding everything
but eyes. He slinks in corners
while my consciousness casts
a spotlight to and fro, illuminating
whatever position he’s just vacated.
Over his shoulder, a bulging sack
filled with dreams. A mermaid
giggles from being tickled
by a pirate’s beard and the mountain
of talking cheesecake begs me
to hurry, find the rogue, set
them free. I race round corners,
through darkened alleys,
closing every shutter, bolting
every door. But he manages
to slip through some crack
too thin for his bag, which he leaves
on the cobbled street.
Spilling out are flying boys,
cherub-sized centaurs laughing
with a child’s glee. As I try
to round them up, I am distracted
by a strawberry-haired maiden,
who opens her window, hangs
damp, white blouses
on a moonlit clothesline,
and hums the lullaby
her mother sang
on nights
she couldn’t sleep.

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