Now there is only the sound of the street lamps
for those who can catch the breath of them
hissing, like cats doing build-up to a fight.
They bend their long necks and look for us.
In the sitting room the all-night rage
of standby lights so commonplace, we shrug
and blank each mad red eye, put out the bin,
take up a cup of camomile to bed.
Overhead we know the space stations are circling,
those slow hyenas of the night. We bank on it all
put right, our night-terrors extinguished by the sun.
Although it never tells us how much time is left to run.
Jean Atkin published ‘Fan-peckled’ (Fair Acre Press) and ‘The Bicycles of Ice and Salt’ (Indigo Dreams) in 2021. She has won competitions, been commissioned, anthologised, and featured on BBC Radio 4. She works as a poet in education and community.