“FOR LACK OF SLEEP, I WILL SURELY PERISH”
– A SYMPHONY IN FOUR PARTS
based on the four developmental stages of Fatal Familial Insomnia
wide-eyed open stares in freshly chlorinated pools,
a dull burning redness eating away at eye-whites
legs trapped in amber. pine pitch sticks
wet on fingers. body wants to run. molten lungs
breathe toxic fumes through chapped lips.
every wish for rest consumed
every thought choked in fog
every motion held captive at half-speed
Go, now, to that place where you can only swallow
water. That screamless cave of upturned rivers & shaking
leaves, the hive of wasps stinging through forest bark.
Go, now, to the hollow neck of woods frozen
in stutter, the electricity of twitching tongues. Inhale
the flies. Turn their wings into pinpricks of light.
Go, now, to that place of syncopated pulse. Tap glass
restless on teeth, blood rushing through your head.
The castles are collapsing in. The eyes deceive
& the skin is made of locusts & of dust.
Now the sun sets bruised,
clings like spider silk below
Ash rains on tongue,
thunder trails to
Lavender fields wilt & wither,
granite pillars crumble
like the sparrow’s bones.
Drenched with panic, blanketed in sweat. A storm settles
over a cemetery smothered in clouds. Kerosene haze
obfuscates the skyline. A blood-eyed mare, her chest a city
of scorched oak, stands & waits for the sun to weep. Now
give heed to the specter’s chimes, the decrepit ghosts rattling
at the rungs of ribs. Give heed to the hollow cacophony,
the ravens feather-shivering their dance. Splinter your fingers
to sharpened claw, carve your name into glass. Carry volcano
in your throat.