I Can't Sleep
by Jessica Wiseman Lawrence
So This is Grief
The darkness in my bedroom closes.
I feel as if my eyes are open still.
I drift into a turquoise dream.
My feet believe it is mid-day and are walking.
We are not walking but my feet are walking
near a house where I used to live.
I, too young, did not travel like this then.
Then there is a noise in the sky but there isn’t –
it is the dog, snoring at the foot of the bed, worse
than a husband. At the snap
of the lamp I know –
no sleep tonight
or any night. Maybe never at all
because the loss of a parent is a tree cut down,
and a hollow-sudden nothing –
a crumbling, shifting desert once a forest
never-ending and safe –
walking alongside the great possibility gone.
I frantically gather at the splinters
to keep something whole,
but the organic way of death takes
from path to forest to desert and back into bed.
I am knees up, I am my head upon them, shaking with it.
So this is grief.
Jessica Wiseman Lawrence studied creative writing at Longwood University. You can find her recent work upcoming or published in Origins, Black Fox Literary Magazine, and The Feminine Divine's upcoming Anthology of Female Voices, along with many others. One of her poems has recently earned a Best of the Net nomination. She lives in rural central Virginia, where she is an office manager by day.
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