Every night at four
I startle awake,
like a doe sensing danger in the forest of my dreams.
Trees come up to charge me,
transform before my eyes
to endless reams of paper
unleashing lists in the dark:
invoices, accounting, due dates.
All their screeching pleas
mouths gaping with urgency
like babes unfed.
How can I divide myself in enough parts to please them all?
I’ve read all the books
on expanding my brain and ensuring eternal happiness.
I breathe deeply and visualise,
think of colours, tastes and smells,
let my limbs grow lank and sleepy,
start leaving tasks in each room of my memory mansion
but never get beyond the ground floor.
Then I panic
heart flutters that extra wriggle
which tightens my abdomen.
I rush again and again through identical rooms
circling like an inept crow.
Too much to know
take in, remember,
too much to search, gather, understand.
Too much choice
yet nothing is new under the sun.
Nothing captures me, nothing remains.
Tomorrow the novelty will be submerged in fresh newness.
My voice surely too will drown in all that noise.
The fractal geometry of our lives
the ruthlessness of passing,
I feel maimed
dislocated from images and sounds.
Fragility poises for bare second on my finger
Then butterflies off
To a world of vulnerable memories.
My pain is not depth but the shallowness and width.