SLEEP

by carrie addington

 

 

All night I am a plastron, sulked down inside

my bony plate, armored.

   I would like to play something sweet

 

on an instrument for you. Not because

you like music

   and not because I play music,

 

because it seems like something

lovers do for one another.

   I would like to watch you sleep,

 

let the roundness of our corners hold on

to that which spools around

   our shells, but you won’t fall asleep

 

so easily or for too long, and I can’t wait

for the time it takes you

   to drag your eyelids down

 

and around every edge of me. I have already begun

the falling off. You see, I crave it

   and when I want it, it takes me into the clasp

 

of its vice, peels off all the rind, ringing me

clean of pulp and seed. I would like to

   shove you into all the corners of my mouth.

 

Let the darkness shatter the teeth of the day, leaving

the tongue to welter and writhe

   under the sweetness of whisky and licking,

 

counting your stuttered breath, dragging breath

through whole hallways of you,

   breath shackled to that boiling pool buried deep

 

in the belly’s undertow. Throughout the day, we cling

to whatever is in our pockets because

   we have that need to curl our fingers, our palms,

 

our entire hands to cusp and clutch, because in watching

each other—in wanting each other—we need

   to touch something.

Carrie Addington's poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, American Literary Review, The Collagist, RHINO, Waxwing, and others.  She is the recipient of the Virginia Downs Poetry Award, the American Literary Review Poetry Award, and a Pushcart nominee. She is currently completing her manuscript titled, The Beauty Machine, which uses her tenure working in the beauty industry as a lens for viewing the world and relationships around her.  

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