I’ve been told
(by someone who should know)
that somewhere
in a dusty antique shop
or flea market
somewhere on a shelf
in the back, the dusty darkest
there is a jar
—not a big jar—
(but adequate to the purpose)
of collecting and keeping sleep for you
until you need it.

There’s only one
because over the years
its sister and brother jars
have been knocked off of bedside lampstands
by incautious cats
and alarm-driven slaps
and shattered with their sleep.

When you find the jar
—lucky jar finder!—
there’s *one* bit of sleep
floating about
aimless in it.

You will know what it is
by it’s hazy furze
of sleepy dark
and feely arms of inarticulate dreams
and the one eye
of the soul’s clarity
that we only see
in sleep.

Open the jar to take it
and it dissolves away,
because, of course,
you have to save your own for yourself.
So bring it home
leave it
on your bedside table
and wish
and hope
to yourself
that tonight
a percentage
of your already much-needed sleep
—well-earned!—
will waft into the jar
and tomorrow
you can seal it tight
as soon as the alarm goes off.

Jar Of SleepInside you will see
a tiny,
spiny,
8-leggy bit
of lazy-floating sleep.
It sounds like a better find
than it truly tends to be
because every night
you will want to take more sleep
and jar it for later.
And using that reserve is almost
unconscionable
because to *know* you have a bit of sleep on hand
for when you really need it
becomes quite intoxicating.

I heard
(from someone who should know)
that the Jar-er
—or “Jar Owner” if you prefer,—
eventually starts wishing
a significant portion of their sleep
into the jar
and saves nothing for their night.

They tire during the day
and wonder why they’re doing this silly thing
and even if it’s actually working
but then in the evening
when they see the jar
full of tiny
teeming
soft-susurrating sleeps
they want more.

So that night they resolve
—not so much anymore—
but just a bit tonight, only,
into the tiny jar.

I’ve heard
(from someone who should know)
that the jar gets so crowded that you will feel
an overwhelming
but exhausted
satisfaction
with the keeping of so so much sleep.

Seeing the sleeps teeming
tiny
streaming together
a soft feely black-black surface
in the jar of sleep
is hypnotic
and every glance more satisfying.

Until one fateful day
when the jar is full
and the sleeps compress
and tight-stress
and waft…away.

You’ll come back to the jar
that night
and look inside, tired
and convince yourself that
the jar never actually worked
at all.
You thought you saw what you thought you saw
because you’re always
so tired, always
wishing for more sleep.

The jar gets put aside
on a shelf
and ignored
collecting dust
until a garage sale
donation giveaway
curious nephew
or incautious cat
takes the jar from you.

And it’s OK, because, really
it never worked anyway
—how silly was I!—

But I’ve heard
(from someone who should know)
that somewhere
in a grandmother’s closet
or resale bin
or ancient sweater’s pocket
that there is a jar for sleep,
only one, mind you,
—not a big jar—
(but adequate to the purpose)
of collecting and keeping sleep
until you need it.

 

written Mar 20, 2013