Prayer for Sleep

Cheryl Dumesnil

 
The chiropractor sent me home
     with my left ankle taped, my neck
          cracked, and instructions not to sleep
on my belly, so when it came time
     for bed, I dropped a tequila shot,
          laid back and closed my lids, entrails
exposed to vultures of bad dreams.
     From the neighboring pillow,
          my love whispered theories
of meditation, biofeedback, post-
     traumatic stress, and prayer. When
          she asked, "If a divine creator
made the universe, who made
     the divine creator?" I mumbled,
          "Are you trying to talk me to sleep?"
She smiled, then babbled
     past midnight, contemplating out loud
          the metaphysics of leaf production,
the wonder of molecules
     that make up our bed, the web
          of my cell structure connected
to hers, until I fell asleep,
     imagining the mitochondria
          of words, thinking, if god is
love, let me sleep to this sound of her voice.
 
From In Praise of Falling by Cheryl Dumesnil. Copyright © 2010 by Cheryl Dumesnil. Used by permission of University of Pittsburg Press. All rights reserved.

Further Reading

Related Poems
Temper
by Beth Bachmann
Poems About Illness
Kaddish, Part I
by Allen Ginsberg
A Litany in Time of Plague
by Thomas Nashe
Afternoon at MacDowell
by Jane Kenyon
Against Elegies
by Marilyn Hacker
Anxieties
by Donna Masini
Auld Lang Syne
by Jennifer L. Knox
Beasts
by Carmen Giménez Smith
Bedside
by William Olsen
Breathing
by Josephine Dickinson
Christmas Away from Home
by Jane Kenyon
Cognitive Deficit Market
by Joshua Corey
Evening
by Gail Mazur
Everyone Gasps with Anxiety
by Jeni Olin
Having it Out with Melancholy
by Jane Kenyon
Her Body Like a Lantern Next to Me
by John Rybicki
Hospital Writing Workshop
by Rafael Campo
In Memory of W. B. Yeats
by W. H. Auden
Losing It
by Margaret Gibson
Mastectomy
by Wanda Coleman
Phases
by Michael Redhill
R.I.P., My Love
by Tory Dent
Sick
by Shel Silverstein
The Embrace
by Mark Doty
The Land of Counterpane
by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Nurse
by Michael Blumenthal
The Sick Child
by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Sick Rose
by William Blake
The Subalterns
by Thomas Hardy
The Transparent Man
by Anthony Hecht
The Visit
by Jason Shinder
To Amy Lowell
by Eunice Tietjens
Tubes
by Donald Hall
Units
by Albert Goldbarth
Visits to St. Elizabeths
by Elizabeth Bishop
Waking in the Blue
by Robert Lowell
When I Consider How My Light Is Spent
by John Milton