What Happens When I Don’t Sleep

Not one of those people

who does Something Productive clean the closets

pack up old books to give away vacuum in fact I never vacuum

day or night doesn’t matter

read an entire novel or even three short stories

write the beginning of an essay the beginning of a poem

listen to a one hour meditations even two

by Jon Kabat Zinn or Sharon Salzberg

instead I try techniques that Never Work

counting  one hundred backwards

picking arbitrary numbers let’s say nine

then counting in both directions knowing there is nothing duller

than counting numbers

sometimes I listen to one of my favorite podcasts

Sleep With Me guaranteed to make you sleep

it usually doesn’t last night I couldn’t

find my headphones anywhere did I lose them again

I hope not because tomorrow we are going on a plane

and I like to listen to podcasts on planes so many I haven’t heard

like to listen to audiobooks and I wonder where the headphones

might be  whether I should get out of bed to look for them

would that would help me sleep but I know

looking for headphones won’t help.


Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.


  1. I can’t write every thought I have about your poetry and by extension you. I love your poems and you. My fear, if I told you all, would be that you’d rush out for a restraining order and I’d be forbidden to come with in 500 ft. of you. This would be funny for I live thousands of miles from you.

    BUT I just read today’s treasure and had to tell you that it is perfection and I truly believe we are sisters.

    With great affection,


  2. oh god this captures it perfectly! Safe travels and love to you both and Peter’s movie gets the great response it deserves at the screening!

  3. i count backwards from 300. that doesnt work either. i love your writing, esther. i used to live not far from you and wish i still had a little cabin tucked away there. if you ever see a little cheap cabin let me know, please.

    happy springtime!

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