Lullaby for an Adult

Peter Vertacnik

          –after Patric Dickinson

All the doors are locked. 
The dog’s been walked. 

Each tap, each burner off. 
No dome-light glows in the garage. 

Through that cracked blind 
the streetlamp doubles 

as your moon. You sleep alone 
but this bed’s warm. 

Your dreams won’t paralyze 
or force contortions. Your face,

though pocked and stubbled, 
softens. The ticking clock  

has gone; your pulse
marks time, throbbing 

through the splinter
burrowed in your palm.

No termite, no errant spark 
will test these walls tonight.


Peter Vertacnik

Peter Vertacnik’s work has appeared recently in 32 Poems, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, The Hopkins Review, and Literary Matters, among others. A finalist for the 2021 Donald Justice Poetry Prize and the 2022 New Criterion Poetry Prize, he lives in Florida.

Art: “Tea Party in the Mountains” by Van Lanigh, Oil on Canvas

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