How I Got To Sleep

Summer, 2012 / No. 28

Made acceptance speeches, repelled

the Nazi scourge, had sex with lesbians,

convinced parents to keep the dog (age six),

visualized tomatoes ripening, saw her

for the first time again, present at Dieppe,

shouted, “Help is coming, hold on!” plea-

bargained, filibustered, sneered

at Kitty Hawk. Lay on my back and

was an oyster at Leucate Plage, signed

that kid’s cast, watched the car

hit someone else’s child in Berga,

opened the envelope, gave

the eulogy (whole room wept), remembered

the lost perogy recipe that called

for cottage cheese. Turned over again—

smear of the red-numbered clock—

designed book covers, got in under a left

and put Chuck Liddell down, caught

bullfrogs in the muck at the edge

of Pine Lake, brought back the smell of

blueberry buns from the Open Window Bakery,

drove the narrowing roads north, held

in my hand the tight head

of a milkweed pod and peeled it back

and back into whiteness

until there was nothing.

Michael Redhill is a poet, playwright, and novelist. His novel Bellevue Square won the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Last updated summer, 2018.