The Dolorous Hour by Jude Cowan Montague

I woke up once. It was still night, I knew.
I was running lying down. Such a night head.
It was like now. I was upside down,
under a heavy curse. My head was at the base
of the bed, and my hands were stretching
for an answer that I needed to find quickly.
Go to sleep. It will all look different
in the morning. I didn’t believe my voice.

Tonight it’s the middle again. I know it.
This is the middle of everything, plum
dead bang in the centre of the bed.
I think I woke up but it’s not certain.
My feet are pointing to the ceiling
and my lover, he’s calm and I can hear
his breathing. He doesn’t understand.
I resist the temptation to wake him up.

It’s always night. I always wake up.
I don’t need to know the time because
I know it’s the dead centre. I’m miles
from the morning, stranded on this island
of ruin. I navigate these seas but no stars
show me the way home. There are none.
It’s deep. I’m gazing at myself, I can see
that’s me, that is, lying there, unasleep.

At this hour old friends turn violent.
They want to tell him about Tuesdays.
What are you doing here? I ask them.
They answer in slow motion, with grey mouths
that whisper of dripping, dripping bags
that I carried at night. It was you, they say
should we not tell? Curse you, you sheep.
go back to your plastic, be silent, sleep.

 


Jude Cowan Montague worked for Reuters Television Archive for ten years. Her first collection of poems For the Messengers (Donut Press 2011) re-formed edits from the news agency output during 2008 as individual poems. Her album The Leidenfrost Effect (Folkwit Records 2015) was co-composed with Dutch producer Wim Oudijk and reimagines quirky stories from the Reuters Life! feed. She produces ‘The News Agents’ on Resonance 104.4 FM. Her most recent book is The Originals (Hesterglock Press, 2017).

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