Morpheus in the Underground

It was our eternal foursome,
Orpheus and Bacchus leading
Aphrodite astray, all ending the night in
my encompassing arms, the
arms of Morpheus, but there are no
moans and sighs now when
morphine has stolen my
name and purpose.

I see those three sometimes
across a crowded bar, still
cavorting but with no need of me,
so I make my excuses, walk the waterfront
seeking out the homeless for whom
sleep is like a gratuity, rare and
grudgingly given.

I find them wherever the
wind can’t get, unless it is
particularly playful, on thin cardboard,
wrapped in whatever they own,
hidden beneath the great buildings in which
they are bemoaned, sometimes drunk in the
shadow of sobriety.

I try to give them my gift but some
resist, their feral dogs snarling as they
twitch and fit; some squadies salute,
caught between squadron and squalor; some
sigh and grasp my hand; one
sweet, sad girl reminds me of
Aphrodite, no doubt just then
tripping, giggling from some club.

And on the coldest nights, when even
my breath is opaque, I know my
gift deals death, my hold
shuddering with the freight of
another soul, my arms full of the
world where Morpheus and
morphine must co-exist
uneasily.

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