When did you own me,

pull rank, throw me in the waters

and command my limbs to forget how

to swim? When did it happen, a month ago?

Two towns ago? After I completed the mission.


Veins in stone, under skin, gauging the surface

of the Earth, rivers to maneuver across,

toxic currents unreckoned with.


How did it evolve into this obscene tumour,

blocking my view, deforming my youthful joy?

You are through with me – a deep cracked dish,

breeder of bacteria.

Fiddle away. Eternity is dying in the pockets

of my lungs, madness

infiltrating my chi.

How did you do it, did I let you? I must have

let my guard down when doing the laundry, counting radio

channels, mopping the spill.

I am still reaching but you are gone, very small

in stature and shrinking. When did you own me, gently

press my face into the pillow, gently

promising a dream?



Copyright © 2017 by Allison Grayhurst

First published in “The Beatnik Cowboy” October 2016
   the-beatnick-cowboy-1the-beatnik-cowboy-2 the-beatnik-cowboy-3 the-beatnik-cowboy-4
You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

One response to “Sleep

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