Sleep’s Compartmentalisation

My immovable feet felt your steps towards

My closed door, my stomach warned me that

You were getting closer. And I failed to grow

Comfortable waiting. Acidic images down my

Throat, your guiding cold hands, around my

Pulsating fibres, rummaging beneath my skin.


I felt too tall, too aged, too feminine in my

Pyjamas. Nudity was an inevaporable thing.

A canvas, sign language, yours, secrecy, tyranny.

When you died, I still smelled your traces on me.

The sharp whispers in your voice mumbling

Against the substance of mine, the body holding still.


Until you feel satisfied and your life makes sense

For an unholy instant. I knew you were lying,

But I couldn’t find the truth in your actions,

What your words meant, the fingernail, on my lips

And yours. The guillotine without the spectacle,

The overt announcement, no, you tiptoed and barely

Made a sound, my brain a firework, ashes on your hands.


Your body had framed mine and I thought

That I will never outgrow your physicality,

The way it imprisoned mine, trying to override

Memories. You rid yourself of them by shoving

Them down my throat, into the apertures of a child,

The blindly following heart, unable to sleep at night.


“Interior with Young Woman from Behind” by Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916)

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