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About this poet

Miranda Field is the author of Swallow (Houghton-Mifflin, 2002). Her honors include the Discovery/The Nation Award and the Katherine Bakeless Nason Literary Publication Award. She lives in Manhattan and teaches at New York University and Barnard College.

ARNICA / ABSOLUTION / AMBIEN

No mortal ever learns to go to sleep definitively.  No baby, animal or 
vegetable, intends to sink his vehicle in so soundless a lake.  In such
cloudy houses, shadows take the shape of something "put to sleep." Any 
oblivion is a field or maze a creature grazes in for private reasons. The 
edible flower taken from its bed to the table expires on your tongue, and
this is what we mean by sense of night and utterly internal to itself.  

To go to sleep, I think of the bodies in their reservoirs, painstakingly
changing from opaque to phosphorescent.  How all the while distracted
Nature pours a perfect solvent on their experiment.  I take a half-pill, a
paradigm ignites, a moving sign in rain.  I take a whole, the flame grows
lower.  One and a quarter, it’s just a flicker.  No sense asking who I am
then.  Swinging from its dead twig in a bush, the aura-like cocoon, lit up
by winter sun— the least of its worries the worm.

First published in Columbia. Copyright © 2004 Miranda Field. Used with permission of the author.

First published in Columbia. Copyright © 2004 Miranda Field. Used with permission of the author.

Miranda Field

Miranda Field

Miranda Field is the author of Swallow (Houghton-Mifflin, 2002). Her honors include the Discovery/The Nation Award and the Katherine Bakeless Nason Literary Publication Award. She lives in Manhattan and teaches at New York University and Barnard College.