Insomnia

Original Text: 
Kate Hall, The Certainty Dream (Toronto: Coach House Books, 2009). This poem is reproduced on the Griffin Prize Web Site (from a volume on the 2010 Canadian Shortlist).
1If I were to sleep, it would be on an iron bed,
2bolted to the floor in a bomb-proof concrete room
3with twelve locks on the door.
4I wouldn't ask for a mattress
5or decorate. I wouldn't ask for beautiful.
6I'd let the philosophers in,
7but not into my bed.
8They'd arrive cradling their brass instruments.
9I might let them play
10but only very softly and only if
11they didn't fight or sing.
12If I were to sleep, there wouldn't be any windows.
13There would be a skylight,
14but in the middle of the floor.
15I'd press my face against the glass
16and stare down at other floors upon floors upon floors .Àæ
17I'd do a sleep dance right on top of the skylight.
18It would be a new game.
19It would involve amazing feats of sleep contortion.
20It would involve letters.
21If I were to sleep, I would be spread-eagled across the bed,
22and even with the iron struts and screws cutting into my back,
23I would protect the metal frame.
24I would protect the springs.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
Form: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright © Kathryn J. Hall and used by permission of the poet. Authorization to republish this poem must be obtained from her in writing.