The day does what it always does:
goes away. We convince ourselves
to forget with contentment, with
fatigue. Who are we when we sleep.
Why do we need unconsciousness.
We lie down, position our bodies
so they are parallel to the floor
and beneath it, the ground, and
scoop up the night’s ration of
stillness. It’s still early. If we can
fall asleep now, we will have almost
seven hours of rest, at least six
solid hours. We pile them up like
ice cubes in a glass, and in the glow
of our attention, they drip, disappear.
That panic you have felt at 3 AM
is real, but was not caused by what
you thought it was, a phone number
you meant to dial earlier and did not,
the money you sent or spent. Count
out three long draughts of oxygen
to nudge your mind back toward sleep.
It’s late tonight, but still early, no light
in the sky yet for tomorrow. Every year,
we relearn how old we are by subtracting
the year of our first recorded appearance
from the year the calendar says it is.
We need time to keep starting over.