You go through the motions of sending the house to sleep.
Checking twice, and once again for luck the front door, hand hovering,
In front of the hob to reassure yourself you did switch it off
Before tightening your hold – in a gesture strangely violent yet familiar – on the bathroom tap to avoid the drip
ping tedium of a late-night trip in search of silence.
You commence the short exodus to the bedroom where Hypnos,
If you are willing to accommodate,
You shed your skin and put on a more comfortable one for the hours of stillness you envision
The house is now asleep, but you are not.
The darkness wakes from its deep slumber to torment you.
A shape forms beside the chest of draws and laughs at you,
At the fear, that, at your age,you should really have learnt to outgrow.
You respect the darkness and confine yourself to the space your body inhabits on the bed.
You shut your eyes but the darkness remains, somehow intensifies,
Even begins to fester beneath your eyelids until the silence surrounding you grates at your ears,
Begging you to notice the creaking of the step that signals your
It cannot hurt you if you follow the rules.
You wonder at the sweat that pools on your temples and under your armpits.
The heat builds but your fear makes it impossible for you to raise the covers even
To let in a gasp of air.
You gasp for air.
You feel like Atlas, yet you do not have the strength to even lift the blanket,
Let alone the entire world.
The universe is in your bedroom, and it is bathed in darkness;
The sun has retired and with it all the warmth and safety it once provided.
This nightly ritual is one you have imposed on yourself,
Yet it still surprises you how difficult it is to fall asleep.
Whilst you ruminate over such truths,
The darkness envelops you,
Saving you from further contemplation.
Tomorrow, you will once more go through the motions of sending the house to sleep,
Hoping all the while that you might delay for a little longer
The coming of the dark.
Image: Hans Braxmeier via Pixabay