You wonder what we do at night
when sleepers leave the waking world
and midnight streets belong to us.

For some it is enough that sleep
no longer squanders years of life,
the quick pretending to be dead;

others tell themselves the hours gained
will water their creative drought;
mostly we get a second job.

You ask how long I’ve been awake,
as if we measure days like you,
tomorrow somehow faulty,

the same way you were wrong about
the need for dreams to keep us sane.
You wonder what we do at night.

I like to watch you while you sleep,
the private show beneath closed lids,
the pulse in your defenceless throat.

David Barber