The crickets can keep you awake
like an old rocking chair
loose on the rails.
The 10:45 CSX can slice the night,
scraping west from Altoona & howling
the bridge above Glade Run Creek
where Mohawk & Cree
once cut a path.
But what can a woman
do out in Rockwood?
She can put out salt lick & apple
for white-tailed deer,
pick a bouquet of goldenrod & sweet joe-pye
from uncut fields,
stake a roadside stand with odd bric-a-brac,
get her hair done at Bonnie's Salon
to have dinner down at McDivit's.
She can pull a daily wage
at Tinkey's lumber or the limestone works
in Milford or Somerset,
set up a satellite dish for city stars to come in--
but at night
alone in Rockwood,
she can't keep nosy moonlight
from creeping in the cracks
where she props a loaded shotgun
at the bedroom door, can't help thinking
a woman's scream
could be caught here
like a firefly in an airtight jar,
dulled by lightning at summer's end
storming the walls.
Copyright 2000 Andrena Zawinski
A different version of “Sleepless Night”
appeared in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette
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