When You Stop Sleeping


I have stopped sleeping at night.

My mom suggests I try taking hot baths a bit before I slip into bed.
My stepfather says I could try meditation.
“Visualization,” he says.
“It’s all about visualization!”

My best friend offers to lend me her Community Season 1 and 2 DVDs.
At least, that way I have something to pass the hours.
I say that I just need to explore.
I will make lists of couches and beds and floors in different states,
Different county lines to try.
I will be a nomad
With nothing of permanence.

I had to stop calling a pair of arms that did not belong to me home.
It is not easy to sleep when you are homesick for a place that was never yours.

I find letters from my father at 3:34 am.
He calls me his shining star.
Maybe it’s this light that keeps me awake.

My therapist from my college campus shoots me an email, says she hopes I’m transitioning well in this confusing post-graduation time.
I tell her about my fucked up internal clock.
I am becoming nocturnal.
She says she can write me a prescription.

I find my high school yearbook at 4:15 am.
It’s funny how often we use that word,

Like we don’t even realize something was lost until it comes back to us.
I fold back the cover,
a layer of dust.
Flecks of forgotten memories sit heavy.
Everything feels so much heavier.
The air never used to be this heavy.
I am not even in Los Angeles anymore.
I was supposed to be able to breathe better.

I read words from people I only know now as names on Facebook.
“I’m so incredibly glad we sat next to each other 4th period.”
I couldn’t even tell you where this person is now.
Where do they live?
What do they do?
Are they happy?

I see an old photo of myself, googly-eyed, so in love with a boy who loves me too.
We were both voted, “Most likely to have a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
I don’t even know where he lives now.
Is he happy?
What does he do?
Has he forgiven me?

His voice,
Surround sound,
Deafening my eardrums.
“You broke me.”
The only one who gave me something unconditional,
and he says,
when I left,
I broke him.

Maybe I do not sleep at night because I am broken too.
Just pieces of humans
Clinging to other pieces.
My mom said as a child, I was very attracted to broken glass.
If something shattered, I didn’t cry.
But instead, I would try and pick it up.
I guess I still do that.
And am somehow surprised when my fingers bleed.

It is 4:50 am.
I am so in love with the girl I was a year ago.
She was strength and curiosity,
A wide mouth full of forget-me-nots.
And I can forget her not.
She was oxygen.
She was the light.
The star Dad always knew she was.
Her heart never a punching bag.
She only kissed one boy that year,
and she never cried over him.
But now, I am not that girl.

I am a woman,
mouth full of forget-him-nots.

5:15 am,
I do not sleep at night.
Good thing it is almost morning.