"Tight sleep" by Meltem Bijil
Bedtime is a ritual. I am a sacrifice.
I’ll spend hours at night reconciling
pieces of myself to my body – the dust
to my skin, the blood to my bone,
the breath to my ancestors. The spirits
do nothing to stop the terror
when I close my eyes, too many
shared memories, too many ghosts
wishing not my death but to live in me,
to live. It’s not an explosion, it’s hands
in the mouth, in the throat,
searching for corners of me
unoccupied. They fill me, a flood
like swallowing the bedsheets,
the air inside me can’t escape; caught
beneath the weight of history
and the linen closet, it changes
weight, a settling poison,
the sharp arrow of a clenched heart,
more in common with ash than angels.
I would give anything to wake up
not tangled, not wet and wrapped
in clinging expectations.
I would give anything
to wake up alone.
Meltem Bijil (she/her) is a Dutch-Turkish university student. She likes swimming and skateboards, and spends more time reading than talking to other people. Her work has previously appeared in Celestite Poetry. You can find her on Twitter @fromtheaxe.