Sleeping arrangements

Growing up was a series of sleeping arrangements
two parallel twin beds
under the knotty pine finished slanted ceiling attic boards
where we would make a game of finding pictures and make up stories out of the woods' knots
and on often humid summer eve’s when we should have been asleep
we would wind open the casement window handles
for a breeze, and play counting car games until we fell asleep.
the sound of a passing car, then taking turns,
"what color was it?", "what kind of car?"

then later, after the divorce,
we sisters shared the fold out living room couch mattress,
a thin mattress on worn out springs, that squeaked under our weight
and had to be folded up each morning before school,
our clothes on a rack in a closet made from the space under the staircase.

then after a cross city move,
we sisters shared a small bedroom with one double bed, 
barely room for two dressers, i remember holding the top blanket tightly under my side,
and sleeping like a tin soldier, so the blanket would not be pulled out 
during disruptive sleep position changes during the night.

there was a borrowed twin mattress up in Betsys' attic, where we cemented our friendship
in late night shenanigans that teen girls will be known for, 
and never understanding how her parents
always knew what we were up to before we got too far along with our plans

another borrowed twin in the shared room with Phyllis
we would gossip in the dark, laugh a lot,
she once made the comment that I slept like the dead,
arms crossed in seeming prayer over my chest,
sleep was an easy state then, taken for granted at the end of a full day of study and play,

there was the temporary room at the McElhenys' 
downstairs end of hallway on the right, a twin bed and desk,
watching over the 2 younger girls,
trying to study for community college at night,
i just remember thinking i lived on peanut butter and ritz crackers in that room for that entire semester.

then came a series of "hippie" shared living spaces, in S.F. near Golden Gate Park,
before returning to ROC, and an idyllic time at the Pink Palace with all the other  RIT artists,
"hippie" havens with mattresses on the floor, or on top of pallets, in rooms of found art and day-glo posters,
sleeping arrangements were as temporary as the rest of the lifestyle, owning little to nothing 
and only taking with you what you can carry

or what fits in that trunk of your used car, going down state to the big city
they said you get used to the noise of New York City at night
between the emergency vehicles and trash pickups,
the streetlight shadows, constant headlight silhouettes,
rotating red caution lights reflecting several stories up...
another mattress on the floor in a strange new art world,
a crazy mix of low and high lifestyles, everything fluid, flux,
one moment skyscraper views,
then dominoes played out on street corners in the Bronx,
but always a simple mattress on the floor to lay a sometimes world weary head

you can leave the country, but keep up the borrowed bed routine,
San Juan started like that but became so much more...
a room of my own, a real bed with a window view open
to the sea crashing several stories below each night,
that is a peaceful sleep, when one isn't using that energy to tap
at the typewriter keys late at night.

(more to come here)

somewhere between different cities
and hand me down mattresses
the carefree sleep of youth fled,

too hard mattresses or too soft...

then aging joints that ache, no matter what position you lay...