My home is home to many

written @ Saint Matthew's House, homeless shelter in Collier County, Florida

Here time is sharp, cuts lights
out at ten as the lingering chatter dies down
like gossip found out.
Music persists
but louder than headphones are the snores
and sharper than time are the coughs
sporadically torn from
dry
jagged
throats and wet
lungs.

It's half past two
and a hack of a cough is killed
in a pillow— a sniffle blips,
the night's most humble sound,
and the bite on my thigh
the loudest by far. Jealous,
the bites on my arms scream
to the bites on my calves
and the bites on my ankles,
a choir of fire. Nails
tearing skin add to the din,
and so it goes on—
cough itch scratch itch
itch cough itch scratch.
Itch.
Itch.

Sleep’s no escape
as I wake to find
the black bed
bugs scurrying
bloated
off me.

My nose curls
as I
jab
and feel
them crush
beneath my disgust
to red
fetid memories
on white sheets. 

Relax

I take a deep breath
and let myself feel
my shirt shifting on my skin,
the night's only caress
except for my pen.