I’m sleeping on the couch again. This is both literal and metaphorical. Most people are being hyperbolic when they say “literally.” But the cushions have literally molded to my body. I won’t ask again if I can sleep in the bed. Discussions aren’t worth the hurt. And at this point, pride is more valuable than warmth or comfort.
The living room has become more than metaphorical. It acts as a guest bedroom. But I feel at home here. The throw pillows that were once taboo to rest on have lost their sanctity and shape. It’s as if they, too, have had their insides rearranged. The time on the cable box has proven to be an adequate alarm clock, despite their silence. Waking up every hour has become routine.
Sometimes I fall sleep on the La-Z-Boy. Pull the lever on the side and prop my feet up like disregarded royalty. Where I am the guard, court jester, and king of my late-night castle.
I ignore the murmur of early morning voices coming from my bedroom. They are not my entertainment and I hate that channel. Instead, I focus on falling asleep and waking up before the kids see me.
I never sleep on the carpet. At least, intentionally. Even that’s beneath me. But bums sleep on the street and despite a steady paycheck, in a sense, I too, have become homeless.
I use to want to wish her a good night. Sneak in to kiss her cheek. Revisit the mattress where she no longer plans dreams with me. But she shuts the door like closeted similes. And I no longer give a damn what her night is like.
Daniel Romo is the author of Romancing Gravity (Pecan Grove Press, 2012) and When Kerosene’s Involved (Black Coffee Press, 2013). His poetry and photography can be found in The Los Angeles Review, Gargoyle, MiPOesias, Yemassee, Word Riot, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and teaches high school creative writing. He lives in Long Beach, CA. More of his writing can be found at www.danielromo.net.