Sleepwalking by Amy Busee Perkins

Topic: What the %^&* Is Going On Here?

What would happen if one day
you woke up
and found yourself in a traffic jam?
You look at the 16-year-old sitting next to you,
earbuds and loud music
blocking out conversation or relation,
but the last time you checked he was six,
with a gap toothed grin and a hug for every minute
and your name was mommy, not an irritated What.
You catch the crow’s feet in the rear view mirror,
but can’t recall those deep lines settling
around eyes burned out in defeat.

What would you think if one afternoon
you came home and saw your father,
once tall and straight-backed
weave his way across the grass, bent low,
unsteady in spite of the twisted wooden cane
with the rubber foot?
You instinctively take his hand,
but still feel his strong arms, lift you effortlessly
over his shoulder, voice crying out in joy
at the potato sack he found on the lawn.

What would you believe if the door opened
and your husband met you,
eyes indifferent except for frustration
at the lateness of dinner?
You can only see a young man with
long sideburns in a rented tux
standing next to you,
giggling through promises you both
thought you meant.

What would you feel as you passed
around the dinner rolls and glazed carrots
and roast chicken, but didn’t know
how you’d gotten to this meal,
this table,
this life?

What would you do if you realized
that you’d been asleep.
Asleep for a lifetime.
You missed it.
You missed it all.
Life grew up around you,
but you failed to open your eyes.

What would you say?

3 Responses to “Sleepwalking by Amy Busee Perkins”
  1. This is one of the most powerful pieces I’ve ever read.

    • Amy Perkins says:

      Thank you so much, Nicole! No one has ever said that about a piece I’ve written. Again, thank you.


  2. Beautiful job, Amy. An amazing piece (and sorry it’s taken so long for me to comment on it!). You are such a talented writer.

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