Her book topples from her hand,
lands on the floor, open.
Outside, centuries of stars, muted
by street lamps, a crescent moon.
Cicadas shrill, go still, then shrill.
Slap of waves pebble the shore.
Salt brine, jasmine. Sweat on her skin.
Heft of her pillowed head.
Conversations circle her fishbowl
mind. Her dead father’s smile.
Sleep is the perfection
she seeks and yet—she dangles,
sheathed in sheets, cocooned
in the yes — of her breath.
Her pulsing hands,
her restless feet.
Around her eyes, muscles twitch
as layer by layer, her masks slip.
Beneath her ribs,
warms her veins
the house, the world and she’s
on the turning tide.