Roommates

I’m afraid I don’t sleep well with others.

On retreats (like this one) I will share a room
With friends and colleagues.
I fear they don’t sleep well.
I can’t say I’ve ever heard
The noises that I make at night,
But I imagine bucket loaders,
Screaming of hydraulic pumps
That drive the dump truck’s bed aloft,
Din of gravel crashing down.

I’m afraid that others don’t sleep well with me.

On retreats (like this one) I will wake repeatedly
Throughout the night.
It’s not my bed. They’re not my blankets.
The noises all are wrong.
In a simple cot at camp
Or the most decadent of grand hotels:
I wake, re-wake, awake, flip over,
Then inhale, exhale, and sigh.

I’m afraid I don’t sleep well with others.

In this silent hour before the sun arises,
I rise to give my poor compatriots
A bright brief chance to sleep,
And lift to you, O God, my prayer
For them (and me)
That in this day, you magnify the virtues
Of the coffee we consume
And even more: our exercise of judgment,
Care for others, talents for creation,
Abilities to synthesize and
See a new way plain.

We’ll need your help, O God, because:

I’m afraid I don’t sleep well with others. 

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