Writing Myself to Sleep

And as I lay in the half-light
I blame my wakefulness on mother,
Whose love of coffee turned its bitter
Into sweet on my tongue, too often now. 
I, half-dark, cradling my ragged bear, 
Plan and wonder in guilty fatigue
On the should of yesterday becoming
The should of tomorrow; what painful heart it is. 

And again, I find unrest in restful hours, 
Reaching, time and again, for some input.
Some scrolling story. Some refreshing page.
Pencil in my hand, now, I open these lines
And confront, though not comfort, tide pool thoughts.
 
I want to trace the eddy line
I want a splash and dive, but
In stiff strokes I stretch to the hole and stay
The one spot on the river where, within movement,
One can be completely stagnant.
 
And my red eyes try to shut slowly
While my hand rubs my softening stomach
And, though it might cause regret tomorrow,
I venture to keep writing.
 
My least favorite question now
Is “Where are you from?”
Because, in half-light, I’m half-gone
And with one foot always out of the covers,
I have no spot to lean upon.
 
My least favorite question is
“Where are you from?”
Because I am potted, not planted.
I hit the ground running, swirling, 
Cartwheeling across America.
 
“From”— a simple word with endless meaning.
I am from my mother, from my father,
From the back seat of a Suburban,
Next to the dog and the parakeet.
I am from summers on rocket beaches.
I am from horseback and the smell of pine.
From bonfires and rock walls and high school soccer. 
I came from easy living, and rash decisions,
And endless futures built in unraveled pasts.
 
“Where are you from?”
9712, 57006, 01770, 81211, 02138
I am the sum of these numbers,
Or perhaps the mean of them,
 
“Home, then? Where’s that?”
Under these feet, must be. 
Or maybe I’m always far from it.
Maybe I can make it. 
When my clothes are all together
And I have my stuffed animals
And I go back with little ones, and point out
“I did that.” “I had that.” “I was that.”
 
Seems to me
That homes, long residing, are only built
When memories
And identities
Mix with the paint
And blend into the carpet
And stay.
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