by Christine Adams Beckett
I envy him, that old friend,
Who says he can sleep anywhere
If given a soft enough spot
Quiet enough not to startle.
He boasts he can sleep deeply
With a dull enough cacophony
Surrounding his deaf ears
In any given weather.
I imagine being his bedmate,
Watching his supposed dreamless sleep,
As I intermittently close my own eyes
And calculate the hours before
The day will begin in exhaustion.
He admits to fear, but conquers them
By transatlantic sea voyages, alone
Enjoying solitude in all its forms
And letting go of everything.
His friendly advice: to skip
Melatonin, NyQuil, Ambien.
Ignore the personal Dadaist film,
That is frustrating consciousness,
Stubborn and steadfast in the small hours.
Forget the words that were spoken
Yesterday, their endless possibilities
Of interpretation, the scenarios of
The present and their anxious affect
On an anticipated future.
He says to turn off the projector
Illuminated on the inside of
My dry eyelids; focus instead on
One black dot, that swells to fill
The entirety of my screen
The dot, a graphic, becomes vast,
Without edge, Nothing, closing the
Curtain on a full day – still begging
For interpretation and meaning –
Leaving me powerless.
I succumb, finally, to the innate fear
Which is not mine alone, but belongs
To every owl, every lark,
Every dreamer, doer:
Of what lies beyond that black hole,
Beyond that barrier we cannot
Pass through again, where I hope
Each bird, in flight, enjoys