Arranging Furniture at Midnight

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I move chairs at midnight,

Adjusting my wife’s preference

Which one is facing which.

The cats are doing football

Banging on tables and walls.

All six of them,

Siamese versus Persian

All team High Maintenance.

My angry wife wakes up,

Reminding us she needs to sleep.

I’d pay for this in the morning,

When I am the one

Struggling to doze off,

Bury my head under

Mountains. She’d raise hell

And transform into a monster.

The furniture won’t vouch

For my innocence

The walls meek, sleeping

As deep as the cats,

Now like curled dry towels

On the floor, while my wife’s

Torture lecture lasts

Until eternity.

Only when the door

Closes and the tick tock

Of heels disappear

Fading into purgatory,

Only then there’s peace.

I’ll dream of growing old,

White bearded, long-haired man

Wise not to say anything,

Sleep as peaceful as a humming

Antique, metallic electric fan.


Totel V. de Jesus
Totel V. de Jesus
Totel V. de Jesus has contributed two poems in the inaugural year of the Philippines Graphic Reader monthly magazine. One for its November 2022 issue and another for February 2023. In the 1990s, a few of his earlier poems were published when Nick Joaquin edited the literary section of the then weekly Graphic magazine. De Jesus has been working for two-and-a-half decades in the media industry, and now edits for the central news desk of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He looks forward to spending the rest of his life reading and writing more poems and other literary works, while taking care of six cats at home with his occasionally sleep-deprived wife.


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