Barbie Suffers from Insomnia by Dale Champlin

O Mother
                  I love you

—Erica Jong

To be deprived of sight and sound—
exhausted as a lobster in a trap—
unblinking—plunged to a depth
where everything goes black.

Here my desires seem flimsy—
even water has lost its transparency. 
Threads of bubbles syphon up 
from my bed of leaf mold.

Dear Mother, are you on your 
third Manhattan of the evening? 
Is my little girl lost in fitful sleep?
Is your son under arrest yet?

You recite your Sylvia Plath—
wishing you could eat your X 
like air. Is there viciousness 
in your bathroom? Lie still—

pressed against the porcelain.
Keep your head above water—
holy and scummed with bath salts 
while you float on the River Lethe.


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