Deidra Greenleaf Allan
Why Do We Trust Ourselves to Sleep
Why do we trust ourselves to sleep
and leave all we know behind
as once we slipped into our father’s
hand and followed him?
Where do we go when we neatly fold
our bodies into bed and step
across the threshold of stars
drawn like metal filings toward
a time when we were somewhere else
we can’t remember where—
a place reached only through one door
which sleep as close to it
as life allows seems almost to breach
but never quite?
What makes us lay our bodies aside
like the day’s old clothes
and ride the fitful currents of night
on the wild backs of dreams
in search of what we cannot name
until our restless bodies call us home
and we—forgetting why we left—
return to them until we sleep again?
Deidra Greenleaf Allan has been published in American Poetry Review, Haibuntoday.com, Poetry Miscellany, Puerto del Sol, West Branch, Umbrella, and Wind Magazine, among other print and online journals. She received her undergraduate degree from Temple University and an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. In 2001 she was selected as Montgomery County Poet Laureate in a competition judged by Robert Hass. She has received a Leeway Emerging Artist Award and been a finalist for a Pew Fellowship in poetry. Her poem “Apostrophe to the Living” was selected in 2012 by Musehouse as its Poem of Hope poster.
Photo ©Richard Beban