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Robert Henningsen

Looking For Sleep

Looking for Sleep

Day and night the mockingbird sings,
tuning its throat to the note of spring.
I’m surprised the neighbors don’t complain,
for late at night the bird continues to sing
as though the streetlamp were a sun
and darkness a perpetual dawn.
In sleeplessness I listen
to his song become a worry
he tosses over and over.  It’s my worry
and he won’t stop singing it.

After a couple of hours I submit
to the bird’s choppy refrain.
I imagine it a train I climb aboard
and ride into the night,  looking for sleep
in all the dark alleys of my thoughts.

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An Iowa farm boy, Bob Henningsen moved to St. Louis in 1978 and entered The Writing Program at Washington University, receiving his MFA in poetry in 1981.  In the fall of that year he began teaching
English at John Burroughs School in St. Louis and has been there ever since.

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