In Praise of ASMR*

Once my need for sleep was so raw, I began typing God knows what into the internet, and came upon a woman—Ilse—who whispered to a camera about her makeup bag. Her Subway sandwich. Her grandmother’s beaded necklaces. Sometimes the screen showed only her mouth or only her hand reaching like a backhoe bucket into a ditch of lipstick tubes, which clicked and clacked. I sunk inches into the hotel bed. 

I get teary when I watch ASMR. I mean, it’s late afternoon. Ilse is slicing a Gala apple. The knife punctures skin, and the flesh is so perfect I could run off a school bus, fall into her lap and weep over tasks left undone—eat apples and peanut butter, not knowing how anything will end up. 

Eventually, I confess my love for Ilse to friends, and that night, we take her to bed on one iPad. Catherine laughs at how ridiculous it is—the earnest whispering—but she’s the first to fall asleep while Ilse pours water back and forth between bowls. 

I worry about how alone people have become. How screened in. I want a crowded kitchen where people pour, mince, and gossip. It makes no difference if I understand what they are saying. I want to stare up from the kitchen floor, to hear how yellow and stubby the crop of cucumbers is, hear the water boil till it’s half gone.

*Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a euphoric, head-tingling sensation that will often occur in response to audio-visual triggers, helping with stress, insomnia, and anxiety. 


More from our “In Praise Of” Series:

These Worthless Objects, CJ Evans
Wild Abundance, Laura Villareal
The Shadow Everything Casts, Brian Tierney
My VIDA T-shirt in Bright Blue, Julie Halebsky
Mixtapes, Dilruba Ahmed
Fences, Broken, Anthony Cody

Corrie Lynn White

Corrie Lynn White’s first full-length collection Gold Hill Family Audio won the 2021 Cowles Poetry Book Prize out of Southeast Missouri State University Press and will be released in October. Her poems have appeared in Oxford American, Best New Poets, and New Ohio Review, among other places. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UNC Greensboro and currently lives and works in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she was named the 2021 Tennessee Arts Commission Fellow in Poetry.

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