HOW I SLEEP
The bed is full– my mother
perched on the corner, my calf
in her palm. One brother sprawled
across the middle, the other
sitting beside my head.
My sister curls into my stomach,
my husband’s warm sigh lands
on the side of my neck
and my father stands by the door,
content to guard the room.
My worry is strong enough
to dissolve solid bodies into a rain
of invisible atoms, carry them
through the night and assemble them
in my bed, where I can be sure
they are safe. I want to sing to them
but I don’t know how so I just
keep breathing, invite them
to match my long inhales.
On nights when someone is missing,
I lay awake and stare at the ceiling
until the dark turns to a dance
of gray fuzz, till I see my cousin
ripped apart in an early birth,
till I picture my uncle dead
and remember it true.
These nights, I feel alone
so I kick my feet, sweep them
across the length of the bed until
I hear the dog groan. I lay awake
until the room is a buzz of atoms,
sliver of sound, until
the room becomes hot
as a promise,
as another precarious day.