(after Robert Okaji)

First you must get out of bed
like a sloth, moving glacially

so as not to make things worse. Next,
straighten, also slowly, taking care

to tuck your tailbone. Breathe
until your heartrate subsides a little.

Imagine you are enrolled in your mother’s
finishing school, a dictionary

on your head as you move through
the day. Set the timer for twenty

minutes when you sit down
with an ice pack at the computer.

Save your work when the timer
goes off, put the ice pack back

in the freezer, set the timer
again, and lie down on the floor.

Repeat until you meet the deadline
or run out of daylight.