When I wake, I must rise.

Quickly, urgently, quietly –

rubbing my eyes

and shaking the sleep out of my brain.

Sometimes in winter, at 4:30 am –

when the world is still and dark and frozen;

no ray of sunlight has broken through the deep quiet;

I rise, quietly lighting candles and

flicking on lamps.

Sometimes in summer, at 5:04am,

when the early rays peek in through my window,

urging me to awaken,

I rise, smiling at the rooster who has already begun his call.

I cannot go back to sleep.

Second sleep is full of monsters

and death and tragedy.

My horses hang by their feet

And cold steals my children

And murderers haunt my windows.

I wake in a stupor- angry, scared, mouth dry and head pounding.

I can’t shake the melancholy

for the rest of the day.

Going back to sleep is a recipe for nightmares.

And so I swing my legs over the edge of the bed and stand.

5am is quiet and slow and magical and full of promise.

It eases me into my day

with poetry

and stillness and hope.

And so, as soon as my eyes flicker open,

I rise.