Insomnia

If I were to sleep, it would be on an iron bed,

bolted to the floor in a bomb-proof concrete room

with twelve locks on the door.

I wouldn’t ask for a mattress

or decorate. I wouldn’t ask for beautiful.

I’d let the philosophers in,

but not into my bed.

They’d arrive cradling their brass instruments.

I might let them play

but only very softly and only if

they didn’t fight or sing.

 

If I were to sleep, there wouldn’t be any windows.

There would be a skylight,

but in the middle of the floor.

I’d press my face against the glass

and stare down at other floors upon floors upon floors…

I’d do a sleep dance right on top of the skylight.

It would be a new game.

It would involve amazing feats of sleep contortion.

It would involve letters.

 

If I were to sleep, I would be spread-eagled across the bed,

and even with the iron struts and screws cutting into my back,

I would protect the metal frame.

I would protect the springs.

Kate Hall, “Insomnia” from The Certainty Dream. Copyright © 2009 by Kate Hall. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: The Certainty Dream (Coach House Books, 2009).