On sleeplessness

Unbearable heat all day, then rain
sometimes near midnight. I should be

sleeping, but as soon as I hear
the boom of thunder, all my old

restlessness returns, translated
by my hands into gestures that at least

help fold the laundry when they can’t
bear to turn the pages of books anymore.

I don’t know what it is I’m always
bracing for: news from that other

home I left years ago— news of a fall,
news of a death. Not that anyone wishes for

such things to take place, but rather,
almost as though they’ve already happened

and it’s just taken the announcement
a longer time to arrive. I saw a satellite

animation track a column of dust blown
by a wind storm from the Sahara clear

across the Caribbean and into the skies
of Texas, where it lingered and spread

as a fine haze for weeks, even months.
What does it matter what form we might

survive in, if there is no one to keep us?
I don’t mean as a different kind of body,

or as fragments sifted into a glass.
When I’ve waited up to the point

of exhaustion, sleep comes. Even this
is labor: the lungs working their

quiet bellows, the small muscles’ spasm
as the body descends deeper into itself.

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