Green Hills Literary Lantern



The Bed



“My neck is killing me,”

my wife sighs in the three a.m. silence,

streetlight seeping

through the curtains.


We squirm under the covers,

adjust the pillows,

including the one

she keeps between her legs

for the sciatica.


My own left shoulder throbs

from slumping on my side in my sleep

in a middle-aged fetal curl.


As we drift back to sleep

I remember my father-in-law,

the last twenty years of his life

sleeping in a recliner

because of his back.


My mother likewise sleeps

in an adjustable chair –

she’s unable rise

once she lies down.


Ah, the bed;

once it spawned

a riot of fantasies,

women spread-eagled and moaning,

wet with desire.


Now I fall asleep,

mindful of the hazards of repose,

dreaming of warning signs,

a use-by date,

a skull and cross bones –

a series of cautions,

a list of consequences.



Charles Rammelkamp’s collection, Fusen Bakudan has just been published by Time Being Books. He edits the online literary journal The Potomac:, in addition to serving as fiction editor for The Pedestal (