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The Sleep of the Innocent

October 29, 2009 

By Sam Pierstorff

Since our infant son first slept
with arms poised as if a touchdown
had been scored, my wife and I
now brood over every new pose:

claws out like a pouncing tiger—
funeral arms overlapping his chest—
the gravitational mystery of tiny forearms
extended like a mummy’s—

so unlike our own clumsy sleep,
rotating like pigs on spits,
troubled by aching backs,
crooked necks, scratchy throats.

And tonight, in his star-stained bassinet
under the twirl of plush crescent moons,
our son mocks the insomniacs who bore him
with his middle finger plunged deeply inside his nose.

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