16 nightly conversations with the ceiling

my oldest, dearest, nearest friend
changing shape
following me from city to city

why have you always been white?
even in the dark, striped black and white
always with a rough texture
you do not want to be touched
even if you can still be reached


you hover like a brand new mother
I am an infant injected with confusion
and respect
and love
and applesauce

I should be grateful to you
I can feel your breath fan over me

tick tock tick tock


you are supposed to help me fall asleep
you refuse to tuck me in


bedtime is a bad time


twenty three years of this
I hallucinate a good night’s sleep
to be well rested
but, boxed in on a box spring,
there is no salvation in this lucid life

I face west
you enter into my ears like Claudius’s poison
but I refuse to die


I face to the east
slightly more comforted, I readjust my knees
I stare wide eyed at the closet door
and hear the ruckus of the monsters inside

I lie on my stomach
I mutter an anguished plea
“I want to sleep. It’s been 20 minutes. Christ.”

I lie on my back
conversations with the ceiling soothe me
not like a lullaby, like a long-winded lecture
i slowly take illegible notes
nothing important here


you help me remember the repressed
I do not want to sleep on negativity
wring out my childhood over the darkest pit of hell


I smile weakly at the only treasure I want to remember
the calm of a teething baby, content


“you know, I’m losing my mind,”
my hands whisper as they pass over his sleeping form.
I can only wake him up if I am shivering with tears
but only in the silence, not being babysat


The anxiety constricts me
my second dearest friend


I smile and remember how I wanted to feel.
I opened a forgotten box and found endless joys
an earthquake of love, my feet dance together

I recall India, love lost, humility, vanity
I mouth the words to the last sentence I read
there is a wardrobe of lost possessions
I imagine the best sleep of my life

I stare at the ceiling right in heart

the ritual is complete
and now I can sleep

and now I can sleep


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