The Middle Watch

by Clive Eastwood

The phone sounds at four am:
five rings, no message.
The apartment is borrowed
so it’s not my business
but I’m awake now. What level
of urgency or mischief
makes someone at this hour
call and not wait? It’s darker
than it ever gets in town.

Do they hear my breathing?
I uncover an ear to listen;
in the night this building
doesn’t make a sound.
Outside the quilt, the cold
constricts and clenches.
Are they sitting heavy-eyed
with a warm drink, counting,
wanting me to count with them?