I wake up to three full seconds of bliss –
My dream not quite shaken off,
The world still has a pinkish warm tinge
I’m always younger when I sleep.
Back home and some adventure happening,
Self-assured and safe.
Then a switch is flicked
I can feel a prickling in my scalp
And the colour and heat is drained upwards sickly fast
Leaving my stomach until last, and twisting as it goes
While my heart betrays me with big clunking bumps
And won’t slow down.
My body that I have lived in,
The same one I laughed with just the day before,
Cuddled my dad with when I was a little girl,
Ran in the playground –
Jumped in the deliciously cold sea on a hot day
This body I have kissed and made love with
Embraced friends and shrugged off hurts,
Has turned against me
Has become possessed.
I am trapped.
Edvward Munch has painted me and I am gripped
In garish swirls
By a corrosive, twisting hand
That rubs like sandpaper against my diaphragm
And leaves me bent double and retching
Like a futile exorcism.
Nothing comes up but water
The allergy is only to myself
This cruel irony that my nightmares happen when I’m awake.