The woman who sleeps

My job is to sleep, to stay perfectly

still, perfectly lovely, for as long

as it takes for you to break through

the barricade of briars, the jetsam

of flowers, to pull aside the thick

cobwebs, the web of burrs, and, finally

find me—

it’s tiring, this work:

sometimes my body is so numb

with sleepfulness that I burn

with a thousands nettling needles,

each one like the first, piercing

me as my blood flows down the white

of my fingers, down my legs, drips

to the floor, and I fall, again

and again, into darkness, into time’s


and wait for you, you

who takes thousands of years to arrive;

and when you do, will I even care

to be kissed by a child—

after so many falls

and winters, May Days and Midsummers,

what would we have to talk of?  Why

should I be for you?


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