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Poem of the Month for August 2019

Post Date:July 29, 2019 3:00 pm

Sleeping at Hibbert’s

When insomnia gets tiresome
I pack up my cat,
alarm clock and comforter
and go down to Hibbert’s Hardware.

The sliding glass door in back
isn’t locked because no one
wants these odd plumbing parts
in the middle of the night

and once you get in
behind the counter
there’s a futon back there.

Nothing soothes like the presence
of tools, paint and twine

where sleep comes as easy
as the help freely given
in the day
from both sides of that counter.

-- Barbara West

I have always been drawn to poems that connect the poet and the reader to a place. Barbara West is a Davis poet, and Hibbert Lumber was a thriving business in Davis since the 1940s until it recently closed. The poem has an easy familiarity to it, as though reader, poet, and business are all close friends, and a little secret is being passed along. Poetry is personal, and here we connect with the poet and with a location many of us have also been. I find the poem is also sweetly poignant as I am saddened by the closing of Hibbert Lumber.

Barbara West is a nurse as well as a poet, with prior work in hospice. Her publications include “Full of Crow,” “Brevities,” “Medusa’s Kitchen,” “Sacramento Voices” and the Davis Shambhala Center newsletter. Her first book “…And I Felt the Simple Sweetness Of Me” was published by Cold River Press.

James Lee Jobe
Davis Poet Laureate