while a dolphin likes to keep one part of its brain
and one eye open. Some sea birds are reputed
to spend so much time covering large distances,
that they've developed the ability to sleep
while flying. A sperm whale holds its breath
as it naps near the surface, while gangs
of meerkats like to sleep together, in pelted
heaps. As time wears on, I find it harder to fall
asleep especially after a long day at work;
I come home but my mind's still racing. I envy
bats and possums who can sleep through nearly
an entire day, waking only to go hunting;
or the walrus who, it's said, can sleep and swim
at the same time. But first I would need to learn
how to get over my fear of water, though I believe
it could be one of the most soothing mediums
in which to float. Recently I saw an ad
for a float tank in a spa, where you can climb
into a pod and lie back nearly weightless in salt
water the depth of a foot. Then, someone gently
pushes close the lid of the tank so all
goes dark and external stimulation fades away.
The only thing you'll hear is the distant
percussion of your heart and your slow, deep
breathing. I'm tempted to sign up and try it,
though ideally it's a solitary experience.
Personally, I like how sea otters have sometimes
been found holding hands while sleeping,
in order to keep from drifting apart.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) was recently appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-2022). She is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 2020). She is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015; she also teaches classes at The Muse Writers’ Center in Norfolk. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.