Of Sleep

Like moonlight, like sunset, these night terrors are unlike anything our songwriters say. Like black-and-white Italian films, no one can agree on what they just saw, but arguing about what they mean is a big part of why we have movies and Italy and points of view. When it is warm, night up and sprouts the bodies of everyone’s lost relatives, like the Alps. Early in the morning, when cop cars and utility trucks are parked driver’s window to driver’s window like old couples in hospice, these curses earworm their way into your breast, so that you wake up to your oldest child neither sitting nor standing, like a man under fire, like the audience fleeing a performance, mouth and eyes wide, sound asleep, finger pointing directly into your truth.


Benjamin Paloff‘s books include the poetry collections And His Orchestra (2015) and The Politics (2011), both from Carnegie Mellon. His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Conduit, New American Writing, The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, and others. Twice a fellow of the NEA, he is associate professor of comparative literature at the University of Michigan.


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