Perhaps it was the persistent scare of the superbug
that compelled the sun-riser to surrender
to the notion that a coffee cup
had been sullied by a minor fall:
that the time perceived was unequal
and unrelated to the speed
of selfish microbes settling on the rim
where his mouth was meant to be.
The Unknown Soldier in his drowsy cadence
assumed clumsy control over the machine
while residents in loose blue pants
were heaving for a fix under the starry half-light
of the January droll and incessant tinker
of a tinnitus fighting for control
over the little inner voices of a surging sleep debt
coursing over the cornea in presumed delight.
The confused hands belied a clear mind
and the surgical profession, where such miscalculations
would kill a man, no cut-and-dry mistaken hands
allowed access to abscess, no tried-and-true
consultation of the shifting sands where new relations
caught the pour of milk and sugar from behind.
And where the words fell short,
slow movements filled the space
and slants of light displaced this a.m. automatism
from the view of other pilgrims in the room
and gave the caving listener his rhythm.