by C. A. Gardner
I never get over the panic as the lid swings shut,
those last few minutes before the sun rises,
trying to hold my arms down by my sides until I'm
trembling all over, until my hands
rise of their own accord
to pound against white velvet, long since in tatters,
a new nail
piercing the flesh of my fist
as my body explodes in a frenzy of
pounding and clawing
worse than any scream,
seconds before I am to sleep.
I wake that way, stiff and straining,
eyes dry and bulging as a victim of
You can't tell me it's as simple
as lying down for the night,
amidst smooth white satin sheets.
Every night when they lock us in the crypt--
for our own protection--
my heart shatters with panic.
A helplessness that links me to them yet,
beyond all other changes,
a reflex beyond mortality or time,
a mortal reflex.
They are burying me alive.
Morning, for me, is not what you might expect.
My day does not begin
when all your lamps are lit,
when you sit back comfortably in the gloom
to scare yourself with stories.
Your day is my day.
Your sun, the one I still ache for
like a lover.
I never slept well
even while dreaming my way
through a mortal life,
and now I feel the subtle shifts in clouds,
in leaves and branches,
as the sun passes overhead,
imagine the sun on my skin
like a plant that lusts
to drink this golden nectar.
is only that--my night.
It is always very late.
I am always about to die.
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