Summer is here and so is the disturbance of early morning sleep by four-poster heat. This morning I am thinking about sleep, how it changes. There was a time when I could only seem to fall asleep face-down on my stomach. It was when I was young, perhaps around 10 or slightly thereolder. I still remember the first night when, to my surprise, something did not feel quite right and, after lots of restless pillow flipping, hot, cold, hot, cold, I ended up sleeping on my side. Perhaps I have the flu? I remember myself thinking. I am not sure how many nights it took, but, like the phases of a small prepubescent moon, my side gradually rotated to my back. By the time I was a teenager, sleeping on my stomach was no longer an option. I had permanently eclipsed myself.
It was the same with poetry. There was a time when I never read it, never considered it. Too abstract, hot, cold, hot, cold, and then one day I turned onto my side and reached for it. Now I realize that somethings are probably best said through poetry. It just depends on your definition of poetry. People say this all the time. I did not believe them. Now, nobody says not reading poetry is bad for your spine – unlike sleeping on your stomach – though I am sure it is. It just depends on your definition of spine.