Night Piece, By Louise Gluck

He knows he will be hurt.

The warnings come to him in bed

because repose threatens him: in the camouflaging

light of the nightlight, he pretends to guard


the flesh in which his life is summarized.

He spreads his arms. On the wall, a corresponding figure

links him to the darkness he cannot control.

In its forms, the beasts originate


who are his enemies. He cannot sleep

apart from them.

From “First Light: Mother & Son Poems,” edited by Jason Shinder (Harvest/Harcourt Brace: 154 pp., $9.95)