Adult: I have trouble falling asleep at night.
Child: But don’t you close your eyes?

The art of sleep isn’t tough for those who have the gift—
they're puzzled at the rest of us with trouble in the night.

And during the day, that tumbling sensation, anxious, sad,
the blues, the sun slipping low beyond our grasp.

Tossing and taking forever, we conjure the ancient ones
whose lives revolved around the same sun—sun worshipers—

who discovered fire, calculated the heavens, tracked stars,
who likely slept through most of this gloomy season.

We can’t help but wonder how they’d react to light—
fake light—the stuff we do to trick our body-clock

into believing we are more than some grand experiment—
superior, in fact—to the pull of nature, however quaint.

It’s all we can do to force ourselves out the door in the dark,
overcome the urge to curl into a book and hibernate.

And that child—remember? how we tiptoed not to wake—
a now impossible teen in all her tough circadian torpor.


 From Rock * Tree * Bird (The Backwaters Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Twyla Hansen. Used with the permission of the author.