If I Cannot Sleep
by Bernadine Lortis

If I can’t sleep
the definitive reason may be
this inanimate creature
that loiters above me
whom I can’t totally block
if I am to keep some Time
and, of course, Time must be kept.
This everyday object— this clock—
I’d bet, you’d never guess
his amazing bold prowess
to watch his poker-face dozing
away in the day, but wide awake
in the night, oh my! Now, how
his digits glow neon, show
teeth of the tiger. Big Cat,
mean that he is, he paces, he prowls
circles the bed without sound,
without need for pause, claws
up limbs, growls around
trails of entrails for hours,
stalking dreams to devour until
Lady Dawn chases him underground
to his twelve-number slumber
with insomnia riding his back
though sunrise is Nemesis Two
if I have not slept

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The creative process for this poem came about because I am an insomniac. Often while lying awake, I think if only the alarm clock wouldn’t keep reminding me that I’m not sleeping. Anxiety and self-reproach grows more oppressive with each hour until finally dawn breaks, but then it’s time to get up. It’s a codependent relationship and when I’m rational I’m reminded how ridiculous my attitude is. I’m just looking, unfairly, to transfer my problem to something else.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bernadine Lortis has written secretly and sporadically for years. She started submitting in June. A Creative Nonfiction piece was published in July issue of Stirring: A Literary Collection by sundresspress. A poem has been accepted for the Autumn Equinox issue of Mused-Bella Online. Advanced degrees in Art and Education were occupationally driven. An avid reader, gardener, and dabbler in watercolor, she lives with her husband and writes in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she finds inspiration all around her.