“If Only I Could Sleep” by G.O. Clark

He’s working on
a sign across the way,
his unsyncopated tapping
disturbing my nap.

Hammer, chisel, redwood
boards, the true believer still
at it after eighty-plus years,
despite the apocalypse.

Our homes are close
together here, carports wide
open, no sounds confined like
in those private shelters.

His signs once stated,
The End Is Here, backed
up with homilies and scripture
passages as proof.

New times, new signs.
The end come and gone,
the detritus of the past drenched
by irradiated rain.

His signs are now
directional or cautionary;
This Way To Salvation Town,
Beware Of Poison Water.

His tapping continues,
old hands true to the craft,
and I need to nap, the screaming
at night negating sleep.

G.O. Clark’s writing has been published in Asimov’s, Analog, Space & Time, Tales for the Camp Fire, Daily SF, and other publications. He’s the author of 14 poetry collections, the most recent, The Comfort Of Screams, 2018. His second fiction collection, Twist & Turns, came out in 2016. He won the Asimov’s Readers Award for poetry in 2001, and was Stoker Award finalist in 2011. He’s retired, and lives in Davis, CA. Find him online at goclarkpoet.weebly.com.

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