Sleep Routine
Poem by Scott Carpenter

June 19, 2013

I have learned how to sublimate myself,

   to divide myself, before bed, into pieces

in order to appreciate myself

in accrued units.


Not grotesque but reassuring,

   as familiar as brushing my teeth,

this nightly ritual of producing from my chest cavity

like figures approaching out of a fog


statuettes, plastic cornerstore medals, bookends, snow globes—

   trinkets from the shelves of my childhood—

or pulling them one after another

from my pajama pockets, the older I am

the more there will be.



I remember the pink glow of a nightlight

   I went to sleep by when I was little,

trusting the vigilant light it cast in corners, but afraid

after each flicker that it would go out.


I’ve found that I glow differently,

   purple-blue instead of pink

and resonating rather than flickering.

Trinkets endowed with my experiences


and touched with an unquantifiable spirit of the self

   that learns how to loose itself better after each day,

glow in a semicircle around my bed, never dimming because

I am so various.

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