The Sleep Counsellor Advises Us Not To Count Sheep
because soon they’ll want a drink, their mouths baying open, bleating and you’ll need to imagine a brook with banks low enough for sheep to stand and drink water from one into
an another and then another of their four stomachs that are full of churning and churning pink and red stringy muscles stretching beneath their fleece – which could be golden – like the one in the myth – that was dead –wasn’t it?
But lived and flew once before that – didn’t it? And didn’t Terry say something about people panning, bare-foot for gold in rivers and sieving the particles through oily fleeces?
How long ago? How much gold? And where exactly was this?
Now you’re back to counting again and the grains of gold are shifting into the sand of The Man who is meant to bring sleep to children in a sack that he leaves in parcels, tucked into the corners of their eyes in the morning –
can you remember rubbing its gritty, crystallised balls from the hot, dampness of your eyes into your puffy cheeks?
– and was he meant to be good or bad – that sandman with the sleep? The one who could deaden your senses and turn thoughts into dreams?
©2023 Jenny Middleton All rights reserved.
Jenny is a working mum and writes whenever she can amid the fun and chaos of family life. Her poetry is published in several printed anthologies, magazines and online poetry sites. Jenny lives in London with her husband, two children and two very lovely, crazy cats. You can read more of her poems at her website https://www.jmiddletonpoems.com