:: Article

Herd

By David E. Oprava.

The alarm is a key. Unlocking him every morning he rises to ablutions habitually. I see things around a pillow, table, chair, toilet, grey panes and this is everyday. He doesn’t see that’s living. He washes and eats, dogs a long walk to the factory. There he works alone amongst the numerous silences of machines. Blending into seamless sentences, he finishes and goes home to become a single syllable. An anonymous sound no more than refrigerator humming. He blends into the bland social fabric of anonymity, a no one doing nothing, infinitely. Waiting patiently, I greet him at the cusp of head and bed and begin the unpredictable ritual of being. I wake to bright children scampering, sun eating at the window and a tempting wife readying with hairdryer, kettle whistling, six billion dreams jostling. My job is a noise of moments and strong drinks afterwards before kids need stories, comfort, sleep. There is time between thinking. Wants, needs, interconnected aloneness only I can feel, not he. Buses crash, planes smash, wars unfold and TV bellows…fear me. Shattered, I beg for reprieve. The alarm is key. I’ve tried to find the endless batteries within its beating, to un-function the mechanism between wake and sleep. It’s impossible. This is how he and I wrestle imperceptibly. He’s serene as I scream and whisper. I plead to be heard. Let me sleep, indefinitely. No. Awake only as long as needed he savors my inability to touch hallowed mundanity. I grovel to the seconds before his thoughts hit my plain. His mind, blind, alive with blank mentality, breathes freely. Within seconds, I drown to the stampede.
jan-2010
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
D.E. Oprava has been in over 90 journals online and in print and has two full length collections of poetry to his credit. VS. with Erbacces Press 2008 and American Means with American Mettle Books 2009. His third, Mettlesole, is due out in summer 2010 with Blackheath Books. He is also the founding publisher and editor of the small poetry and prose press Grievous Jones. He lives in the UK with his wife and two small children.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Wednesday, March 17th, 2010.