Sleep Exercise

by Luciano Iacobelli

pictures stories games movies
collide in your head good guys bad guys fighting
slow motion stop motion battles

or is it a terrible image that’s stuck in your brain
comic book villain with two heads
on a snake neck

Maybe you’re trying to solve the war
undo words your mother and I
hurl at each other

you won’t tell me
you grow more secret become less child
your soul in time
will look like all the others
          soccer ball at the foot of the bed
scuffed and a little deflated

what’s conspiring against childhood
is it some homework you can’t finish
perhaps on the news today you saw the face
of a child killer
       he looked like anyone else
and now no one can be trusted

with each sleepless toss and turn
you penetrate a little more night
and the prayer the world has taught you
is meant to erase me
     our father who art in heaven
replaces me with the invisible

and let me comfort you now my son
before I am overlooked completely

breathe Julian
breathe in slowly
picture your breath
it can walk through anything
even the hardest wall or ceiling
visualize its sweet face
and exhale exhale
a little sweet phantom of air
blow the sleeplessness away

— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 1