by Lacey Smith

Static and an old pocketwatch--
I watch the street and compress time
with the smooth movements of my
still sleepy eyelids, a long strand of hair
snaked between my fingers.

Legs outstretched, palms splayed,
I turn myself into alphabetic loops and angles.

There's a stack of books on the table
that looks like the tower of Babel,
a dictionary sitting precariously on the
edge of still more pages.

I have been reading for days--
we listen to records or rainstorms
and pretend the world outside
is not growing older with every minute
that passes when we are at rest.

Watching your fingers move in circles,
letting my blood cells combust beneath my flesh.

In the cabinet, I find a bottle of wine
that we drink as soon as it is afternoon.
We drain our glasses and talk about
the bits of thought we have in common.

(But when you sleep, I always lie awake.
I put my fingers in front of my eyes
and raise my chest to match your chest.
I watch your nostrils pulse and flex
with all that air)


Author's Note: I was recently talking to a friend about how I haven't written in recent years. I've also been having a tremendously hard time with sleeping/staying asleep/going to asleep/wanting to wake up when I finally do get to sleep. I decided that if I couldn't sleep, I may as well be trying to write again. This is my first poem in years. Consequently, I would appreciate any constructive feedback as to structure and imagery.

Posted on 10/17/2011
Copyright © 2021 Lacey Smith

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Alison McKenzie on 10/18/11 at 02:42 AM

Sometimes I can't sleep until the words are let out of the cage of my mind. And, if I can't sleep, what better use of the time? Glad to see you writing again. These walls have missed your input.

Posted by Mo Couts on 10/18/11 at 03:13 PM

I agree with Alison; sometimes the only thing I can do to get to bed is write down whatever's keeping me awake, even if I think it sucks. Welcome back to the world of writers, and hopefully your muse doesn't depart for too long again.

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