Sweet Dreams


The kitchen was drenched in soft blue moonlight,
and the refrigerator hummed mechanical lullabies.
I stared at the wall from my seat at the dining table
where the ceaseless ticking of the clock
did not fail to reach my ears.
The sizzle and pop of the burst of flame
from the lighter in my trembling hand seemed distant,
as if I saw and heard myself
through the screen of an old television set.
The clock ticked on, heedless of my annoyance
with its stretching of time.
I wanted this to be over;
I’d been waiting for it to show itself in my closet
or lurk in the corner of the room or stare me down
every time I turned around.
I’d been waiting to see the end of my Eden,
a fool’s paradise, for a long time, but
it never came.
I pushed back, the chair sliding across the floor
with a whine so low, a groan; I thought
the walls themselves would cry out in protest.
The flame flickered in my hand—it was time.
I rose slowly, the ticks and hums
forgotten, and shaking, brought the lighter to life
one last time beneath the window curtains.

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