Mariama Pouye

I know what it is to sit on damp earth and feel the sun
seep into your skin as wind softly plucks
your arm hairs like guitar strings.
I know the weight of a head on your shoulder
and the slight ache you get from cradling it.

These are the sheep you count
when you’re too old to count sheep.

I once sat on an old park bench in Prague and watched
as Czech children wearing homemade construction paper crowns
ran wild.
One boy’s crown flew away as he tripped and
a girl with red hair and a blue jacket brought it back to him, offering her hand.

These are the lights flitting across your eyelids
as you slowly sink.

One of my favorites was 3:45 pm on January twelfth.
I wound myself around my sheets and settled onto
a soft right shoulder, feeling someone else’s heartbeat slow
to walk with mine. When he left, an indent remained
on the mattress and my cheek was still warm.

These are the hums of your mother
when it’s no longer her job to hum you to sleep.


Mariama Pouye is a writer from Jacksonville, Florida. She believes that pure happiness is melted brie on an apple.