Sleepwaking

Misfirings begin at dusk. Already she’s intimate with the minute hand

marching forward, announcing the triumph of a second passing, her skull

buzzing with six thousand anxious insects. There’s no time. She upends

bottles of water into her bromeliads, refolds rows of clothes, piles

Tums in little pyramids. She counts spare cylinders of Chapstick, teeters

on the only two legs of a wooden chair touching the floor

and draws her index fingers beneath her eyes, testing the

almost wrinkles, the soft purple hollow. Endless lists skim the dark lake

of her consciousness, and she flounders, briefly breaking the surface. In that

moment, she stares at nothing, everything, wishing less for sleep

and more for blankness, a certain unrippling quiet. Fear creeps

into curled limbs, but she emerges from the cocoon, shakes the lingering

stiffness from her body. She begins reorganizing the desk, her deliberate

fingers washed white by the monitor’s light. Nothing now but the hum

of a computer, the hushed whisper of breath. She catches her darkened

reflection in the window glass, stares at, through the glare, and considers

the sleeping populace before her. Envies. 

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