Photograph by Nicole Mordecai

Ilene H. Rudman


For years I don’t try. Round each
day stooped with the lack of it. Pillows

watch me not trying. Attitude matters
little. Prayer is useless. I know there are

decisions to be made. Should the pillows
be recovered?  Should the clock’s hands be  

unwound? Oh, if only I could
recover time. Reconfigure its formula.


The sleep experts use electrodes to measure. Suggest
ear foam to block sound. Eye shades to block light.

There are tiny pills to break in two.
Things to avoid in the afternoon. Things to do.

Sometimes days pass unnoticed. Sometimes
nights. Time is running on its own

abbreviated schedule. Hurry says the clock.


But no matter how hard I try
I can’t recover what’s lost

between dusk and dawn. The figures never
add up. My pillows nod, taking the brunt

tossing and turning as the clock’s
cruel hands go round.

Sheet Music

Of course you know that
snow and riverbeds and tears
left out too long do dry up

and that if you choose
to cuddle down and snuggle
up between sheets they

might fill with the sounds
of night and rest stops of day
and the music might come

to a full stop so of course
you might ask will I measure
up in the morning? Will
my tears make my pillows
sad my dear sad pillows?
Did my lines run over
the page of your songs
last the night? Never
before has night

promised music that
could last the day.

Ilene H. Rudman

Ilene H. Rudman is a career counselor, psychotherapist and coach in private practice just outside Boston. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including: the Comstock ReviewCALYX, A Journal of Art and Literature by WomenCrab Creek ReviewPassengers, the anthology Kind of Hurricane PressApeiron Review and An Anthology of New England Writers. Her manuscript, Staying The Night, was selected as a finalist in the 2019 Comstock Review’s Jessie Bryce Niles Chapbook Contest; and will be published by Finishing Line Press later this fall. Much of Rudman’s poetry grapples with fear of real and anticipatory loss. Sometimes she can only kneel in prayer. Other times, humor seems her best antidote.