I recognize the woman, the one
who spends her lunch breaks
napping in the park
Every afternoon she parks beneath
the umbrella of the oak trees &
removes the drape of shame that
weighs her down every day
Away from everyone she finally
sleeps. The elusive embrace of Pasithea.
When she awakes, her gaze sweeps
her surroundings to see if anyone
has noticed her napping.
Afraid that she has somehow revealed
the secrets she’s kept folded in the creases
of her twenty-minute naps in the afternoon.
She digs the crust from the corner of
her eye, not realizing the revelation of
her secrets lie in the hollowness that shades
her eyes like heavy pleated curtains
in the winter time.
Or the way she hugs herself tightly to
disguise the trembling whenever her husband
calls her at the office, 9:15 every morning
without fail is when the trembling begins.
Or the way she cowers and folds in on herself
whenever anyone asks about the dime-sized scar
underneath her eye. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s cute
but I just wonder how you got it.” To keep
from falling to pieces, she goes inside herself
yet another place where she cannot find sleep.
It is the daily naps that to her seem a sacrilege
& that’s how I came to recognize her, the woman
in the mirror who’s too afraid to sleep at night
so she takes naps in the car at the park
the only place she can begin to know
a semblance of peace.
And before she pulls the car away from the curb
she looks up in the mirror and that’s when I see
the desperate look in her eyes, a look that hopes
for the day when she can be free. Until then
she continues to park beneath the trees
lulled to sleep by the song of the birds &
running away from memories that keep
her up at night, keep her from being able to sleep.
Peace & Love,