By Karen Skolfield
I spend a long time considering pillowcases.
Which pillowcase does my head want for rest?
A lace edge so that the cheek does not grow bored?
All night the face turns on its pillow,
bridging the day gone with its divination of tomorrow.
The brain sleeps but the body twitches and kicks,
lashes out, steals the sheets, twists the blankets
into thick, furred knots. Thomas Huxley believed
the mind’s shrill whistle contributed nothing
to the locomotive body; Plato, that the mind
knows great truths while the body lives in shadows.
What I know is how sleep releases the body
from me telling it where to put its feet, its fingers,
how the tongue should roll its Rs, when the teeth
may bite or gnash. I give it my consideration
of pillowcases, of lotions and textures it may like,
or farther afield—an actual field—clover against
the skin. The sound of insects rising as the sun sets,
the head leaned back into a cradle of hands,
how the head adores the hands though they
are separated by so much and the jealousy of arms.
Body, I will lay you down beside
another body you have grown to love.
I will bid you still in the moments before sleep
and then I will hand you the keys to the house
and let you spend the night plying all the locks.
In the morning I will wash you with care
and lead you around and treat you kindly
and if there is sobbing it is not my sobbing
and we will both pretend not to hear it.
"I know very little about philosophy, but I delved into it when I began writing this poem and considering our sleeping selves," Skolfield told Poets.org. "Epiphenomenon refers to a mental world that runs parallel to the physical world...it was a chance to speak to the body, my body, lovingly, to console."
I spent hours sorting and rearranging things in my bedroom that no one but me would ever notice had been changed, but I have pretty $1 rainbow-colored glass bottles catching the light in the window now, so I am happy. In other words my day was completely mundane, though there were also bunnies and cats and hair dye (do NOT use that new L'Oreal Preference Mousse, it is the messiest thing ever), and we had pasta with fake chicken for dinner plus ice cream.
Adam went hiking with friends and got sunburned, though he climbed a lot of rocks so he came home happy. We watched Extant, which continues to hold my interest but I feel like the actors (including the very creepy kid) deserve the credit for that far more than the writers; I feel like I'm watching a crossover between Alien 3 only without Sigourney Weaver and Threshold only without Peter Dinklage. Lotus flowers from Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens last weekend: