3 A.M.

What holds my face
from my mouth twisting
my eyes blaring
my skin transparent
my teeth gnashing
my nostrils pumping
my lips vibrant cracking?

What waking; or sleep so sound
and body split from soul
holds my face as others see it?

Then what sleep release
this phantom man – this mad
and haunting me?

I dreamt I awoke
almost, and lethargic –
but compelled stood up
(it wasn’t standing really)
a wind up toy unwinding
winding down, urgent
to sleep, but unable.

Then to face that face –
myself in the mirror –
a snarled smirking face!

I dreamt that I was dreaming
and dreamt I woke
and knowing great fear
woke again holding my face,
then slept an instant later
unaltered through the night.

– 1983  Denver