I Can't Sleep

by Jessica Wiseman Lawrence

So This is Grief


The darkness in my bedroom closes.

I feel as if my eyes are open still.

I drift into a turquoise dream.

My feet believe it is mid-day and are walking.


We are not walking but my feet are walking

near a house where I used to live.

I, too young, did not travel like this then.

Then there is a noise in the sky but there isn’t –


it is the dog, snoring at the foot of the bed, worse

than a husband. At the snap

of the lamp I know –

no sleep tonight

or any night. Maybe never at all


because the loss of a parent is a tree cut down,

and a hollow-sudden nothing –

a crumbling, shifting desert once a forest

never-ending and safe –

walking alongside the great possibility gone.


I frantically gather at the splinters

to keep something whole,

but the organic way of death takes

from path to forest to desert and back into bed.

I am knees up, I am my head upon them, shaking with it.

So this is grief.

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Writers Bio

Jessica Wiseman Lawrence studied creative writing at Longwood University. You can find her recent work upcoming or published in Origins, Black Fox Literary Magazine, and The Feminine Divine's upcoming Anthology of Female Voices, along with many others. One of her poems has recently earned a Best of the Net nomination. She lives in rural central Virginia, where she is an office manager by day.

Inspirational ImageDesolate by Courtney Kenny Portoby Courtney Kenny Porto

Pieces Inspired by this Image

'Universal Circus'
by Megan McDonald

by Lynn White

'The Journey'
by Holly Ferres

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