FALLING ASLEEP AFTER YOU
I listen to the thump
of lovers above me
shaking the wall
like something terrible,
the sounds they make
filling their ears & mine.
I watch you sleep,
the tree rings of breath
rippling outwards or in,
our bed an old willow
matured then cut down
a hole at the center—
Quickly, I climb in.
I don’t mind the tangle
of sheets around us
or how your hands
tuck between your knees
like a bookmark.
Our silence & fullness
leaf as I fall
into sleep with you,
the rhythm upstairs
becoming white noise,
the hum of working bees
slowing & speeding up
& growing concentric.
Is that Sappho you’re reading?
A slow erosion of thought how do you go forward
while standing still Or biking in circles on a small blue bike
Utter utterly How do you say desire without repeating
everything that’s been said i.e. nothing at all It seems
you’re alluding to a categorical problem Those little boxes
those tiny rooms that pull ponytails and sprinkle hair
into a field of crushed lipsticks You had me at sci-fi
garbage-fire heart cyborg melody limbs you had me
at neuro-atypical at bending youth and idealism Do you see
my thousand collars My grin at your paperback Sappho
I want you to let me speak the truth brightness falls out of you
like a jewelry box jangling to the floor an opal pendant
two baby teeth the book I leant with intimate marginalia
ochre freckled clavicle dew drop I want to live there in your
dark space in your too-loud train voice a stillness so new
we burst into glittering
Dana Alsamsam is the author of a chapbook, (in)habit (tenderness lit, 2018), and her poems are published or forthcoming in Gigantic Sequins, North American Review, Tinderbox Poetry, Bone Bouquet, The Massachusetts Review, Salamander, BOOTH and others. She is a Lambda Literary Fellow in the 2018 Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. A Chicago native, Dana is currently an MFA candidate and a teacher at Emerson College.