I Lie Awake at Midnight

41 readings

4 votes


I lie awake at midnight
listening to the song of crickets,
and to the rambling of my thoughts,
my bedsheets stick to my body,
as I am stifled by the heat.
I get up and pace across the creaky
wooden floorboards. My arms brush
against the cracked paint on the walls,
that hold this tired house together.

I stumble out unto the balcony
that overlooks the still backyard,
where a red treehouse once stood.
What had supported me for years
is now an empty field of grass.
And it will not end at the treehouse,
for my surroundings have begun to crumble.
I ignore the tremors and stand atop what now remains.

I look up into the darkness and
wonder where all the stars have gone,
as if I, myself had seen them long ago—
I echo the stories of my parents,
of times when the world felt whole,
and I adopt them as my own.
I take the broken fire escape down,
feeling the shaky earth beneath me.
I leave out through the chained
gate at the back of the desolate yard.

Wandering down the empty street,
that I have walked my passing life,
the fractured sidewalk seems unfamiliar
as the newfound rubble glistens in the moon
light. I slowly take in my serene surroundings
as I pass all of the homes that stand
connected in two parallel rows,
holding families that go about their separate
ways, living side by side as strangers.

I make a left on Vine street and feel the broken concrete beneath my soles.
I pass the orange corner store that I used to frequent, as a child.
I would exit feeling unsettled by the cashier’s vacant stare.
The Walgreens further down the block, with its bright lights
that shine in welcome, has reopened after being looted earlier this year.

I make a right this time, passing the gas station,
where one lonely car is filling up.
I battle the urge to turn around,
and head for the SEPTA train station,
where trains always seem to run.

And now I am running.
Running, with my heart pumping loudly in my chest.
Running to catch the train.
My bare feet slam against what is left of
the dirty platform floor, in my hasty
attempt at escape. But still, I miss the
train. My feet are now pointlessly bloodied
and bruised. The starless sky prevents me
from wishing myself away from here.


A few words for the author? Comment below.

Take a look at our advice on commenting here

To post comments, please