What horror to awake at night

What horror to awake at night

and in the dimness see the light.

               Time is white

               mosquitoes bite

I’ve spent my life on nothing.

 

The thought that stings. How are you, Nothing,

sitting around with Something’s wife.

               Buzz and burn

               is all I learn

I’ve spent my life on nothing.   

 

I’m pillowed and padded, pale and puffing

lifting household stuffing —

               carpets, dishes

               benches, fishes

I’ve spent my life in nothing.

Lorine Niedecker, “What horror to awake at night” from Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works. Copyright © 2002 by The Regents of the University of California. Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.