I used to wish I could sleep fast —
outside, an ocean of life was flowing,
not waiting on the swimmer.
So I joked about condensing a night’s rest into 50 minutes.
Or buying it — three hours of deep slumber, please,
and a carton of light napping.
These days, even normal-speed shuteye escapes me.
Good sleep has checked out of my B&B.
Sends the occasional postcard, though —
makes a flyby, on those rare evenings
when grief does not call.
Blood pools in my heels,
cells switch to low-energy mode.
and I sink into that other sea, that fragrant womb.
More often, worry carpools home with me,
sits on still-packed boxes, barks in my yard,
makes a lousy bed partner.
On those nights, fighting fatigue as petulantly as any toddler,
I crash in my clothes, eyes covered,
until crumbs scratch me awake
and I am taken prisoner again.
I no longer want the fast-food version of rest,
nor that bed of broken glass.
I miss the kind of sleep so luxurious
it is available to the poor
even more than to the rich,
requiring only safety and love.
The closest that two people come to being one:
You breathed, I breathed,
my hand at peace in your sweetest spots
— a hollow in the flank, soft trap of a crevice.
maximum area of skin next to warm beloved skin.
I can’t get that back — the gates of Eden are locked
and I’m out here with the rest of the red-eyed, twitchy world,
searching the bushes and bargain bins
for suitable synthetics,
something faintly sleep-ish
made from dreams, ground fine.
I breathe, I breathe.