There is a particular kind of terror
you will never know until 5 days
when the sunlight is scraping daggers
across your eyes and you realize
you are on the wrong side of the dawn,
so far away from your bed, again—
every insomniac knows how exhausting life is,
but I have always hated the idea
of missing it so I could lie comatose
and dream of the things
I could be doing.
I have nightmares of hourglasses,
and the cruelty of clocks
and everything I can’t hold in my hands.
At night, the city glows golden,
draws me in like a lover,
she laughs at the way I shake,
the way I can’t escape staying up for her.
Rest is a word I am trying to erase
from my vocabulary, a surrender
my brain won’t permit me.
Dawn breaks like bones,
jagged agony and clenched teeth—
I have never liked daylight
the way I love nights
(not wisely, but too well).
The moon is the first thief I ever learned to love—
she offers secondhand sunlight as a bandage,
soothing and familiar.
The morning is too bright,
lit like an interrogation room—
the whole world is fluorescent and threatening,
I am dragging my reluctant shadow
across sidewalks—I don’t know the difference
between dreaming and waking anymore,
(I do not know which is worse)
I only know days from nights.
in the daylight, the city
is all cracked knuckles and harsh lighting.
After the 3rd night, you stop
missing your bed. By the 5th,
you forget everything
but the too-fast thump of heartbeat,
your body running on caffeine and spite,
nicotine and panic.
Everything smells like adderall railed
off the sinks of library bathrooms—
after 120 hours,
the world is a nightmare.
When I finally collapse into my subconscious,
I promise myself I will not dream.