“No Big Deal, This Sleeping” by John Grey


You have so many variations on the dark.
Your bedroom at night is nothing compared
to the cave in Kent where the guide turned
all the lights out or the elevator down the mineshaft
where they made you wear a helmet on your head.

And what about that MRI, the time some doctors
locked you in a shell with barely room between
lip and steel for breath, and certainly your eyes
as useless as an emu’s wings, just voices far off
reassuring you, voices that could see.

When you lie on the sheets, there's street lamps
to fulfill you and a moon to remind, and stars
who shed enough light to suggest they enjoy
your company and, if worse comes to worse,
there's always the switch, a hand stretch above your head.

It's not the hardness of the heart but the give of the mattress.
And thoughts don’t smother because dreams won't let them.
And it's not blindness, your sight just goes native.
So set death aside, for you've sleep in your nature.
In the morning, you'll wake. Brightness couldn't do it better.