John Tustin


In the dark

I feel the crumbs in bed

And start to maniacally try to


That one spot on my back

I cannot reach.

Every night

Before I turn out the light

I shake out the bottom sheet

Yet somehow there is always some

Infinitesimal pebble

That manages to get between

My shoulder blades

Seconds after my back

Hits the bed in those first moments

After lights out.

Then I finally calm down

And put my arms around the pillow that

I press close to my body

And put my fingers through my beard

As if petting a sleeping animal

Thinking now that

I finally have a job where

I can grow the beard and keep it

Without a problem

Just like she wanted

And she’s gone –

Leaving me to stroke

And scratch


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