imagine weights attached to each hair on your body
dripping and rolling like liquid lead
running over
around each curve
each hollow in your flesh

eyelids flutter toward safety and comfort
magnets line each lash with determination
determined to reach the iron hidden under
floors and flights of stairs for human habitation hidden
behind the mottled grays designed to keep anyone
you from leaving a lasting mark on this world
their world
the temporary space you occupy
the air you siphon
the resources and calories you consume

Sometimes I feel so tired,
as though my body is stripped of all power,
like a lava lamp unplugged,
a kaleidoscope without a light source. Sometimes

my body aches for a bed, soft
and safe and warm, a comfortable nest
in which to hibernate. I’m jealous of the bear,
who sleeps away the winter and the cold
enveloped in enchantment,
surrounded by her fur.

When exhaustion encroaches on my daytime hours, the hours in which I am supposed to be functional, supposed to be awake, alert, aware of what is going on around me… when exhaustion encroaches on the sunlit moments, the moments I’m supposed to be living, breathing, engaging with the human race in an attempt to escape the vain and oppressing nihilism of my existence… when exhaustion makes it impossible to pursue the dreams, the feelings, the individuals who exist other than myself, but whose very existence speaks purpose into my own… when exhaustion limits my scope of vision to a soft bed and warm blankets, although I’m perfectly willing to accept a lesser version because I’m just so tired… when exhaustion seeps from every pore, dripping from my person as though I’ve taken a shower in sleepiness… when exhaustion embraces me in a grasp as firm and unshakeable as some bronze giant, shaped in a mold filled with every grain of sand I threw back at the sandman in my youthful vigor… when exhaustion crashes like a seventh wave on an unsuspecting wader, testing the mettle of those who would think to tease the ocean… when exhaustion wraps a rubber blanket around my brain, tamping down erratic ideation and cottonballing waterways of thought…

I get up until my tank is empty.

The last few days I have been in an ever-deepening haze of exhaustion. Each night I fall asleep as soon as I put my mind to it, then find myself sleeping through alarms eight, nine, ten hours later. Each moment my eyes are open feels like torture. I have no idea why I’m so exhausted.

Yesterday I almost crashed my car due to being so tired. At what point do we sacrifice our safety for our jobs? I can’t call out because “I’m tired,” yet driving to and from work in my exhausted state is not safe, not healthy. How do you address falling asleep at the wheel when it doesn’t matter whether you get ten hours of sleep?

Even coffee has abandoned efforts to energize me.


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