by Jefferson Carter

Why can’t I take another 
nap today?  Why the guilt? 
I’ve cleaned the litter box,
whisk-broomed the floor, 
answered all my emails
& unfriended two Facebook
friends before they could
unfriend me. Dozing on
this overpriced, extravagantly
comfortable pillow-top,
memory-foam mattress,
the swamp cooler gently breathing
down on me, I close my eyes.

I won’t be able to sleep tonight.
Again, I’ll help our cat do her job
hunting the cockroaches I imagine
already lining up under the sink, wearing 
their chitin work gear, punching 
the clock for another late night shift.

“Whispering” by Sandy Coomer

by Jefferson Carter

Last night’s curry for breakfast, 
eating with my hands as I drive,
Miles on the radio & I’m thinking
about a myth, a bird born without feet, 
its wingspan wide as a man’s, doomed 
never to land & sleep. . . .

The National Forest Service wants 
a Danger Ranger, someone who 
doesn’t sleep, a volunteer to update 
Fire Danger Today signs, to move 
every arrow on every sign as the weather 
changes. . . .

Love, after you’ve gone, I’ll volunteer
for the job, a Danger Ranger updating 
the signs as the weather changes, 
never sleeping again. . . .

Jefferson Carter has work in Carolina Quarterly, Barrow Street, Cream City Review, RATTLE, and New Poets of the American West.  His book Tough Love won the Riverstone Press Poetry Chapbook Award (West Chester, PA).  Chax Press (Tucson, AZ ) published his ninth collection, Get Serious: New and Selected Poems, which was chosen as a Southwest Best Book of 2013 by the Tucson/Pima County Public Library.  My chapbook Diphtheria Festival (2016) is available from Main Street Rag Publications.

He lives in Tucson, where he volunteers with Sky Island Alliance, a regionally- based environmental organization.  For more information, go to:

About the visual artist: Sandy Coomer is an artist and poet living in Brentwood, TN. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals and she is the author of three poetry chapbooks and a full-length collection, Available Light (Iris Press). Her art has been featured in local art shows and exhibits, and over 150 pieces have been published in journals such as Lunch Ticket, Gravel, The Wire’s Dream Magazine, and Up the Staircase. Sandy is the director of Rockvale Writers’ Colony in College Grove, TN. She is a teacher, a dreamer, a seeker, and an explorer. Her favorite word is “Believe.” Learn more about her at