Night Terrors

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“It’s time for bed,” was never a problem for me,
I was good at sleeping, I could do it longer than anyone else I knew and they
couldn’t wake me if they tried,
I was in over my ankles, waist, chest and head,
Five hundred pillows and a duvet that was heavy enough to suffocate all the
car horns in my mind,
I didn’t have to count the sheep so they sat there and ate grass,
Because I could pass with all the flying colours refracted in crystallised 
dreams,
In the pitch black I won all the altercations against those demons that bite,
The narcoleptic warrior is champion of the night, the steady rise and fall of
her chest, the flutter of twitching lashes like spiders legs, arms drawn 
tight around breasts and waist for protection against the ties that bind,
It’s a damn art,
But I didn’t realise my excellence was subjective,
For my parents it was the murder in the night,
Fox screams that would send them running to my side, only to find a steady 
heartbeat and lethargic child, head to the pillow and snoring,
For friends and family who came to stay, for them it was wide eyed, white 
knuckled, lying awake and clutching the sheets as I cried and whimpered in 
the next room,
Trauma spilling over catatonic lips in the most wretched of yelling, pulled 
out in a long, choking strings of invisible nightmare,
For my sister, it was ‘bitch’, ‘cow’, ‘shit’ and all the other curses that 
I kicked or hit her with in my minefield of a sleeping pattern,
Bible versus, bolt upright, head spinning 360 degrees,
Charon won’t let me pass because someone wasn’t kind enough to put a coin 
in my mouth and now I’m walking a shore I won’t remember in the morning,
I don’t remember in the morning, I’ve been buried in sleep,
Not until I see them unshaven and weary at the table, and I know they’ve been
leaking electricity,
Is it possible to be good at something if no one thinks you are?
I was good at it, once,
In over my ankles, waist, chest and head,
Five hundred pillows and a duvet heavy enough to suffocate,
To suffocate my talent, I lie back and count to ten,
Sleep mask, sleep tablet, sleep therapy, I try not to let it happen again,
I keep the nightlight on now, the sun my only sleeping scar,
How can you be good at something if no one thinks you are?
I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of it, but I’ve stopped reaching for the 
pin-pricks of white light in those starry night skies,
And now, when I lay awake in my bed, I’m afraid to close my eyes
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