Tied up in bedsheets, drooling kerosene—
This slump is a slow burning fire.
Death by boredom or starvation, or
By the constriction of your own hands
Around the sprig of your throat.
Will you stumble, sleepwalking
From the burning room or paint a portrait
In ash on the mattress?
I get up to put a balm to my wounds,
These burns that stir me from sleep,
And glance across the hall to you.
I know I’ll knot myself back up
Before the day is over, but will you
Join me in the dusty limbo,
Away from sweat and flame,
Just long enough to shed our skins?
We feed at a trough of water just cold
Enough to be restorative.
Even a stagnant pool is an oasis
To a smoke-furred throat.
We fill the empty trough with our
Urine, brown from want,
And leave it for some weaker animal.
How I wish the bed was cool,
And the night long, and the moon
Close enough to touch. Don’t
You think there is a crater there
You’d fit in just perfectly?
You wish you could sleep long enough
To remember why you’d ever want to
Do anything else. I wish my hands could cup
Ice water to splash on your peeling face.
Awake, awake—let’s test the wet grass
With our toes before we say goodnight.
Vagabond City Literary Journal
Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.