Daneen Wardrop

Sexton’s Insomnia


Again, bowling with the bones,

the body opens tight

cornfloss against sky, sinew and nerve, whiffled silk.

Ache in my shoulder screws into shovel, and on this pillow.

Taste iron in the water.

Drink by the nightstand, I drink

sky into throat. I can do it because there isn’t a moon

to pin it down.

At the tone please leave your soliloquy.

’Twere to consider too curiously to consider so, your friend may say.

The skin of a lush will last in the grave ten years

well-pickled, the bones drink brine,

you say, Who was Yorick, and remember the shape of his waist

under your legs,

his kind piggybacking

of your questions,

your horsing-around.

Or how the dames, faces painted an inch thick, will

not last ten years,

yet their half-smile hints

as it will on any given tonight, at eleven years, forever?

Excerpting dust.

Dust in eyes, granules of wristbone — take your Genghis Khan.

Dust under nails, your Cleopatra. Paint a foot thick if you want,

and any given night as forever.

Love is always in medias res.


A family sleeps in the marl mailbox. Red flag up.

The lady dies under a stamp daily.

You tell me that digging is something the wakeful do.

Tell me instead illness,

a skim left on the burner,

can be scraped off.

You on the horse.

Tell me in words that hem the blanket under my chin.

These sheets, flawed papier maché by bedlight.

Silver paper pillows, silver

paper worms, if only between sheet billows I love you,

it exists.

If you must, say that prayer is placebo, but then

credit the effect.

Not Lady Worm in a cistern of when.


I know

you have many.

And many are the nights.

Many, in fact,

is the name of nights.

A little bit of perspective helps.

A lot of perspective flattens the dollops.

Many the night the dirt tamps and flies, and flies and fires,

love buried inside a moon or mattress.


My family all stood up at once,

their words splines,

and a cartoon xylophone of vertebrae.

Take your Poe — I dug him up to reinter him,

sunny day,

the ribs waited there, on hold.

a brace of love or diffidence.

Your Eve — the ribs and necklace of gold left dangling

down into the hollow.

You start talking like.

this. and.

You shift from one hip to another? You with the cape.

funny. circles the. its funny clock. remagnetizes the.

Your horse kicks its hoof at the sand.

The cask’s bung-hole holds the moon in place. Every month

or so it pops out,

and so a family lays its staves but rummages

hearts. When I play at loggats and knock the chin-pin —

I leave the hemisphere that holds

his knock-knock jokes — Yorick’s.

I have a head-ache.

Your quiddities and quillets

fribble the watch.

I go to the bathroom to gargle with something antiseptic, apotropaic.

What is assuaged enough?

A rock, perhaps.

The horse’s nostrils, two hallowed streams.

Improbable catenation

here — and here.

You leave your quiddities here to save time.

Your bones can come after.