Ode to Sleep

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: September 04, 2018

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Submitted: September 04, 2018



Trying to explain my

Fragile relationship with sleep

Is sometimes like trying to explain

Why you don’t have a boyfriend

To grandma at Christmas parties,

Telling her, I just haven’t found

“The One” yet,

And she says you should

Find a Nice Boy In Church.

It’s explaining to my best friend’s parents

Why I don’t eat meat.

It’s the frantic rush to the bathroom,

The mild shame at your body

That is only momentarily uncomfortable

But collects in the corner of your soul,

Like forced cheek kisses

From that creepy family member,

These things that don’t mean much

In the moment but become an identity,

Weeds of self-deprecating comments

To your friends that are watered

By their lovely laughs,

When you say “yeah, haha,

I didn’t even sleep until 4 am!”

And you’re secretly dying inside

Hoping that they will see past you

And look at the overgrown garden

Of self-doubt that was sown, planted, and reaped

When all this started in middle school.

It’s hard to tell them that

When I can’t go to bed on time,

I start to feel this demon of panic

Devouring my insides,

And the thin paper doll smile I give

Is only so I don’t disappoint everyone

Even more than I think I already have.

I don’t know how to explain the

Small, tiny obsession I have with

Being able to crawl under the covers

At a scientifically recommended time of night,

Like only putting my volume on

In increments of five

And your friends laughing

At how “quirky” you are

Without knowing what a disruption

It would be to your existence to not have

This small detail, just right.

I don’t know how to explain

The dread that arises when I calculate

Every brittle second I might have

Of Actual Rest,

Because I never know when my body

Will betray me and the tick of the

Alarm clock will be the symphony

Of a long night watering my

Shame garden in the back of my mind,

Sprawled on my bed and

Medicated with melatonin

And lavender essential oil

And that sleep mask my mom told me

“The doctor says it will help,”

And the thoughts are still crashing

Like a waterfall,

Spilling into my eyelids and flooding

The cavern of my rest with

Screaming torrents of everything

Unnecessary begging my attention.

And in the end like all of us who

Can’t tell their family and friends

Why they’re missing brunch again

I endure it and put a mask on my day,

Quietly rejecting invitations with

An excuse of sickness

And dwelling comfortably in

The hollow castle of my bedroom

Because it means I can crawl in bed at

10 pm, fall asleep at 12,

Wake up, and repeat the cycle

All over again.

© Copyright 2018 Sarah Grace Taylor. All rights reserved.

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