But it's really fear you want to talk about and cannot find the words so you jeer at yourself you call yourself a coward you wake at 2 a.m. thinking failure, fool, unable to sleep, unable to sleep buzzing away on your mattress with two pillows and a quilt, they call them comforters, which implies that comfort can be bought and paid for, to help with the fear, the failure your two walnut chests of drawers snicker, the bookshelves mourn the art on the walls pities you, the man himself beside you asleep smelling like mushrooms and moss is a comfort but never enough, never, the ceiling fixture lightless velvet drapes hiding the window traffic noise like a vicious animal on the loose somewhere out there— you brag to friends you won't mind death only dying what a liar you are— all the other fears, of rejection, of physical pain, of losing your mind, of losing your eyes, they are all part of this! Pawprints of this! Hair snarls in your comb this glowing clock the single light in the room
From The Book of Seventy by Alicia Ostriker. Copyright © 2009 by Alicia Ostriker. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
Date Published: 2009-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/insomnia