George David Clark
REVEILLE WITH REIMBURSEMENT
Sleep is a flat tax and everyone pays it.
Closing our eyes, we open
the mottled wallets of our bodies
and are tendered to the night.
In a lost hour, ants climb the leg of a table.
They, with the resolute purpose of ants,
march toward a bowl of oranges.
If someone turned and tracked the dotted line of them
across the hardwood, down the hall, to a bedroom,
they'd see that black procession trailed back
over your pillow, one ant after another
emerging from your ear.
On the deck at three a.m.
I watched chimneys siphon bats
from a velvety heaven where the governors
count our debts out on an abacus of stars.
Let the tax men come if they want us.
Shake the nightcap of ants from your hair.
I've brought you the orange you dreamed of.
George David Clark's poems can be found reprinted elsewhere online at Verse Daily and Poetry Daily. He teaches creative writing and literature as a Lilly Fellow at Valparaiso University and is the editor of 32 Poems. "Reveille With Reimbursement" first appeared in Copper Nickel.