it must be the rumination

of thunder in the western sky

a sound so dark as this that works

its way so deep into the core

of your restless bones


or the late-night train sleeping

through the little town

that lives two dreams away


or perhaps the tidal shush

of pooling blood reminding you

to count each beat in time


with the clock in a nearby room

insisting that its voice be heard


like sullen clocks are known to do


so hard to tell this late at night

this early in the coming day


legs twitch tick by tick

crusted eyes read the tea leaves


fleeting dreams on the edge

of this pulsing darkness


now suddenly brash birds begin

to warn of restive winter light

in the early morning heart of spring


what hasn’t happened is what is

(they say in circling sleepless tones)


take in the waning darkness

the rhythm of the rising sun


welcome in your ragged sigh

the cooling breath

the weightlessness


the timeless dust of dying stars



James K. Zimmerman is an award-winning poet and Pushcart Prize nominee. His work appears in The Evansville Review, Confrontation, The Worcester Review, Atlanta Review, Nimrod, The Bellingham Review, Vallum, Kestrel, The Cape Rock, Oberon, and The MacGuffin, among others. He is the author of “Little Miracles” (Passager Books, 2015) and “Family Cookout” (Comstock, 2016), the winner of the Jessie Bryce Niles Chapbook Award from The Comstock Review. He can be contacted through his website.