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Contributor: Cristine A. Gruber

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I hear him every
morning at 2:00am, another
restless soul who simply cannot sleep.

We both feed on the
nourishment we seek during
these quiet hours when normalcy sleeps.

He walks the halls,
pausing before every closed door,
listening for the steady sound of deep breathing,

souls lost in slumber,
before he moves on to his final
destination, his true middle of the night calling,

the hunk of ham in the refrigerator,
a tall glass of milk to wash it down.
My room being closest to the kitchen,

I hear the scrape of the silverware
against the porcelain of the plate.
Little does he know I’m awake as well,

feeding myself to fulfillment
in the privacy of my room, my feast
consisting first of a warm appetizer of Collins,

to be followed by an enticing
entrée of Laux, and then topped off
with a delectable dessert of both Kooser and Dunn,

a favorable feast indeed,
for I cannot rest until I am completely
sated, deliriously delighted, wondrously full.

I would offer
to share my banquet
with he who walks the halls

looking for his own late-hour
nourishment, but I gather my meal
of choice would no more gratify him

then his would satisfy me.
Thus, finally ready to retire as the
clock approaches the three o’clock hour,

I hear my friend as he sighs
and ascends the stairs at last,
sufficiently sated, ready for repose.

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Cristine A. Gruber has had work published in numerous magazines, including: North American Review, Writer’s Digest, Writers’ Journal, Ceremony: A Journal of Poetry and Other Arts, Coal City Review, The Endicott Review, Eunoia Review, The Homestead Review, The Iconoclast, Iodine Poetry Journal, Kind of a Hurricane Press: Something’s Brewing Anthology, Labour of Love, Miller’s Pond, The Old Red Kimono, OnTheBus, The Penwood Review, Poem, Poesy, The Poet’s Haven, Ship of Fools, Silver Wings, The Stray Branch, The Storyteller Magazine, Thema, The Tule Review, and Westward Quarterly. She has been a featured poet in Writer’s Digest for National Poetry Month.
Cristine studied English, Philosophy, and World Religions at California Baptist University in Riverside, California. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, was released by Infinity Publishing and is available from


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