Segue to Sleep
Collapsing onto bed,
Mind raw from exposure
To man’s daily cupidity,
I remember what is wrong in the world,
Although I try to forget.
I picture Mount Rushmore
As I’d seen it on my last trip:
Mountain faces, tourist faces, rapacious faces;
Roosevelt sadly staring down,
Down into the tourists, consumerists, Americans.
He stares into the park
As if to say,
“What has become of the harmony
Between man and nature?
In the middle of his gaze, of his sorrow,
There is a family of the modern persuasion;
Dad eating a trans-fat burger,
Mom staring at her iPad,
Their child watching them,
Becoming like them over time.
None of them looking around;
Enmeshed in their own affairs
They don’t see Roosevelt’s park,
They don’t see his anguish at his parks, his children
Being inhabited by those who don’t really care.
They don’t see his stony expression
Morph into a frown.
I do see this, and it makes me melancholy.
Mental discomfort begets physical discomfort.
My legs restless, my body hot
I flip my pillow to the cool side.
Repositioning my pillow and my perspective
While sleep eludes me.
Now I picture my family
Hiking a trail near Rushmore,
But we are away from other people,
Away from their pseudo-foods, their gadgets,
We talk to each other,
We listen to nature.
Eating fruit we talk about what we hear:
Crisp leaves crunching, birds chirping,
The wind blowing coolly across the lake.
All of it happening at its own tempo—
A tempo we try to match.
We see Mount Rushmore from afar;
It looks different now,
Roosevelt seems to be smiling.
Seeing people enjoying nature for nature,
Seeing people who have respect for each other,
Allows him to rest peacefully.
I too now rest peacefully,
That image of happy people
Blissfully sauntering an idyllic sylvan,
Stays with me throughout my dreams.