Sleep

By Meghan O'Rourke b. 1976 Meghan O'Rourke
Pawnbroker, scavenger, cheapskate,
come creeping from your pigeon-filled backrooms,
past guns and clocks and locks and cages,
past pockets emptied and coins picked from the floor;
come sweeping with the rainclouds down the river
through the brokenblack windows of factories
to avenues where movies whisk through basement projectors
and children peel up into the supplejack twilight—
there a black-eyed straight-backed drag queen
preens, fusses, fixes her hair in a shop window on Prince,
a young businessman jingles his change
and does his Travis Bickle for a long-faced friend,
there on the corner I laughed at a joke Jim made.
In the bedroom the moon is a dented spoon,
cold, getting colder, so hurry sleep,
come creep into bed, let’s get it over with;
lay me down and close my eyes
and tell me whip, tell me winnow
tell me sweet tell me skittish
tell me No tell me no such thing
tell me straw into gold tell me crept into fire
tell me lost all my money tell me hoarded, verboten,
but promise tomorrow I will be profligate,
stepping into the sun like a trophy.

Source: Poetry (September 2005).

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This poem originally appeared in the September 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

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September 2005
 Meghan  O'Rourke

Biography

Poet, essayist, and memoirist Meghan O’Rourke was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1976.  She is a graduate of Yale University and holds an MFA in writing from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.  From 2005-2010 O’Rourke was poetry co-editor for the Paris Review, and in 2000 she was a fiction editor for the New Yorker.  Since 2001 she has been a contributing writer for the online magazine Slate
 
O’Rourke’s books . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Popular Culture, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Refrain, Free Verse, Imagery, Metaphor

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