Midnight Lark

Cheddar sharp enough to bite
my tongue off helps me in the night.
When the bitter wears off and the hours
awake alone take on such power,
I give up sleep, get out of bed
imagining if my devil’s fed
a sandwich he will let me sleep
(or take my soul he wants to keep).

I stumble down the servant stairs.
Once in the kitchen, my knife pares
the cheddar’s rind. It slices toast
before I toast it from the most
mould-free bread I can unearth.

A steady cutting hand is worth
two fingers easy in the dark.
(Ave, a V then, midnight lark.)

Saluting, I turn the oven on,
admiring how the bread gets drawn
up at the corners by the weight
of centred cheddar slices laid
thick to make my devil fat
and draw his claws in like a cat
and somnolent.
                        I watch cheese slide
around in the oven. I make fried
eggs and eat them with grilled cheese.

I drink pints of milk, hope they appease
the wake-up devil till he dreams
and lets me too, or so it seems.

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