Omar Sabbagh

Sleep
For Faten and Alia Sabbagh

The walls, buried back by bookshelves,
Seem to drip with the knowledge

That, as much as purple is your favorite color,
There is a seemly time for burrowing
Into your pillow’s slowly-steadied earth.

And yet, each night you are a waylaid warrior
Mirrored by the mind’s gripped Now of a day’s long worth –

The sun-steps of the daily pledge
You make, to fight sleep with a clamoring song
That spills in small grandeurs of rising wealth
The sheer wake and measure of you –

And yet, each night you picket the sky
As though it were a tarnished darkness,

Warring your warbles, draped in the fancy-dress
Of a protest, shouting colours at that arc of massive blue,
Because it is unwelcome, an ocean
That wants to hold you down, and to drown you to
Nether regions of nightly naught, unpieced again.

And so, we dare not press the plea
Of timeliness, seemliness, the due and proper cue
To unstrap the wings that may have guided you
Through the day, a wide unvanquished traveler,
Because even here in the seam of sleep

You may need them, once more to see.

Omar Sabbagh is a widely published poet, writer and critic. Over the last decade and a half, his poetry has appeared and/or will be forthcoming in many prestigious venues, such as: Poetry Review,
PN Review, Agenda, Acumen, New Humanist, (T&F) New Writing, The Reader Magazine, Stand, Kenyon
Review, New England Review, Banipal, The Warwick Review, The Wolf, among many others.