The canopy is singing.

Sloths in sleep look like the dreaming

dead. Awake little different

under eyelashes stalwart as sapodillas,

fringed as palms. If to attain true mastery

ten thousand hours are required, yes.

If it is the habit of geniuses to nap,

yes. If the highly successful sleep fewer

than four hours per night, the inverse.

If expert survivalists sleep while

maintaining partial consciousness,

the reverse. But you sleep fitful in a bed

at the average, appointed intervals

and under it you keep only some number

of heaped up words. What is our dreaming

good for, it is reasonable to wonder,

in what are we expert? A certain fumbling

in the hours when we make good habitats

for other organisms which is where

dimly we first recognized each other.

 

 

olsteinLisa Olstein is the author of three books of poetry: Radio Crackling, Radio Gone, winner of the Hayden Carruth Award; Lost Alphabet, a Library Journal best book of the year; and Little Stranger, a Lannan Literary Selection. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The NationAmerican Letters & Commentary, and New Voices. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Centrum. A member of the poetry faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, she also is the lyricist for Cold Satellite, a rock band fronted by acclaimed songwriter Jeffrey Foucault.

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