Lullaby After Midnight
The tallest elephant draws night down
in a swathe that unrolls and falls and folds
on her shoulders, doubles back, doubles again,
heaping its thicknesses into pure dark.
Safe in that velvet, elephants sleep on the ground
for an hour, and kudu on buckled knees.
Birds cover their heads; dusk-hunting snakes
compose themselves around full bellies.
Baobabs sigh and stretch their roots
a further inch into earth. Where people lie still,
dreams slip between the bars of their cages.
Even the animals back of the stars come out.
Now mist-drops touch and grow heavy enough for rain.
Now babies wake their mothers from inside:
Into a place so damp and dark and quiet,
they are willing to be born.
Lullaby After Midnight is reprinted from Mount Clutter (Grove Press, 2002).
Poem, copyright © Sarah Lindsay, 2002
Appearing on the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2006, From the Fishouse
From Wikipedia: Sarah Lindsay is an American poet from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In addition to writing the two chapbooks Bodies of Water and Insomniac’s Lullabye, Lindsay has authored two books in the Grove Press Poetry Series: Primate Behavior (a National Book Award finalist) and Mount Clutter. Her work has been featured in magazines such as The Atlantic, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, Parnassus, and Yale Review. Lindsay has been awarded with the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize. Her latest book of poetry, Twigs and Knucklebones (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), was selected as a “Favorite Book of 2008” by Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine,
Lindsay graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.A. in English and creative writing, and holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, and works as a copy editor at Pace Communications.