blurred city lights at night
Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

Obscure by Louis Faber

If there is to be sleep,

where is it hiding?

The lights of the Unocal station

reflect off the mirror

and cast their faint glow

on the ceiling, an orange

globe neither sun nor moon.

Paris slept peacefully

and never paused to think

of Achilles stumbling

across the fields

falling and pulling himself

upright only to fall again.

Paris dreamed only of the sun

warm on his skin

and of the sea licking

at his feet as he walked

while noble Achilles

watched the waves lap

at the gunwales of the ferry

the blind ferryman slowly

pushing his pole into the wake.

If there is to be sleep

where is it hiding

why does it elude me

like the great rock

perched just short of the apex

only to roll down the hill

to rest at the bottom

mocking, waiting for me

to push it upward yet again.

I wish that it would rain,

that the drops would beat

their sweet tattoo

on the window.

I would call Paris to judgment

in the name of Achilles

but he sleeps so peacefully

I cannot bear to disturb him.


Louis Faber’s work has previously appeared in The Poet (UK), Dreich (Scotland), The Alchemy Spoon (UK), Atlanta Review, Arena Magazine (Australia), Exquisite Corpse, Rattle, Eureka Literary Magazine, Borderlands: the Texas Poetry Review, Midnight Mind, Pearl, Midstream, European Judaism, Greens Magazine, The Amethyst Review, Afterthoughts, and The South Carolina, among others, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lives with his wife and cat in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Author's note

There was a time when I travelled extensively in my career and that meant countless nights of writing and wrestling with sleep. Often I called out to Morpheus and while awaiting his response, turned to mythology for in many ways it offers a lens onto current events or simply thoughts that defy logic or categorization. “Obscure” was one such late night result.