Various and Sundry Poetry

what happens before sleep

i notice the three
pairs of shoes hogging the doorway,
an obstacle course of danger
should i need to get up during the night.

i think about the laundry piling up,
a new favorite shirt with a coffee stain
deepening with each moment of neglect.

i am aware of the blank space
on the wall opposite the bed
which for six months has been begging
for a bit of art, fabric, a photo,
something to fill it.

i set my alarm for an earlier time
than i'm willing to get up.

i read 10 pages of a book that makes me laugh.
do not watch, on my laptop,
the depressing but award-winning movie i ordered from Netflix.

i fall in love, again, with a souvenir i bought
twenty years ago, a bright splash of something Peruvian
that's survived all of my moves.

i place the stuffed animals
in an arrangement that might please them.

i tilt the pillows just so.

i locate the moon, or at least
a bit of neon cityscape.


i am, as always, grateful
for this need to sleep,
whoever was responsible
for coming up with the concept,
i thank them.

how wonderful it is to know when to stop
the brute shenanigans of wakefulness,
to know when to put it all down,
excuse yourself from the party downstairs,
the long night, the difficult conversation,
the whatever it was that tipped the scales
from being there
to being here.
i am grateful for this.


i rub my feet against each other,
take my contacts out so the room
blurs with beautiful obscurity.
there is that good sinking feeling
of the mattress accepting
the weight of my torso.

sleep, i think,
always begins with this.
an acceptance.