Quoin of Slumber by Sunnie Gaylord

If I can’t sleep in this apartment, if I can’t sleep in this town, then I’ll take any undiscovered dirt road to get to that place that isn’t here. Where is my quoin of slumber if it isn’t in his basement? If it isn’t in the nook of his neck and ribs? And so, I grab my sweater, deodorant, and a book of matches. Pinpoint on the horizon, that’s where sleep nests.


There’s this tapping. A lepidoptera metronome. Moths are diving into my windshield. Suicide bombers with dusted wings; I can relate. A glow from underneath the seat made by my phone that keeps telling me I’m never really alone, I’m fleeing from an exalting community, pining to take care of me.  And his voice narrating the car scene that says “They’re all just trying to get into her jeans”.


Winding through aphotic composition and yellow paint, wielding the steering wheel over chaffed paths, where doleful women have worn through the cement and crust. How many daughters am I following? How many marred lovers have cast off and sailed through this chop sea of blizzard posts and highway? How many made their way back home, and how many walked plank?


An hour later I pull over and toss my body into dirt and red pine needles. Load my lungs with smoke and just stare up into the ink and salt. Lose myself in the cold and cricket chorus. Contrive myself in the thought that I could expire here, I could be vital here.  And I can inhale, feel how tangible I haven’t been lately, exhale, feel my verve and aegis collide, blooming simultaneously. And somehow, despite the air that bites, I am serenaded into the deep unconsciousness I’ve been coveting.


Morning.  I wake up in the debris of outer space. I could scream for other survivors but they’d probably just eat too loudly, walk too slowly, and bitch about their jobs back home. No, I’m content with being the only thing alive. I raise my arms into the blue and try to shake some dust from my wings. That’s when my nostrils ache of home. The deodorant I grabbed…his.

Categories: Issue 1 - Fall 2011, Periodicals, Poetry | Leave a comment

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