Song of the South/Daily Reflection — Sleep in My Eyes

Here is another poem I’ve written that works through grief, which uses language that is reflective of some of the darker feelings I have on my grief journey:


Sleep in My Eyes 


So many times we stay awake at night

trying to sit up til morning light shines in our windows.

The night before the first day of school I always did this,

and still do on the night before Christmas

when all through the house, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse.

I sat up once with an old lover all night long

while she readied her mother for surgery,

fighting to stay unblinkingly awake

lest the procedure go wrong.


Not long after I met a bald man with a hoody,

sitting alone at a laundromat,

who whispered to me without provocation

earnestly as if he was disclosing some ancient secret of the Pharoahs

“We’ve got it all wrong. The key is not to stay awake,

but to wake up, my friend, to wake up within the dream”.


His whisperings to me seemed mad then,

the ravings of some drug-induced brain fog

but now I wonder.

I wonder as I sit here,

the fall breeze causing trees to shake loose their crimson sparks and flakes of gold

falling like treasures from on high

all around the bench where I await

the screech and whoosh of arriving bus,

sensing my soul opening up like some hidden eye

from long slumber, perhaps he is right.


For when I feel as if I am waking from years of napping,

I am not sure which sight is dream, which is my reality.

Years lay behind me that once seemed so vivid

full of love and hope and purpose

that now are fading away

like mist evaporating in the light of morning.

Was that a dream and this life the opening doors

with their seats crammed full like sardines in a can

the reality the morning light brings,

or am I instead the one tricked,

myself now falling under,

losing grasp on who I am amidst my own illusions

like one breathing deep some bitter gas

needed before facing the surgeon’s knife?


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