Spilling Rubies on Filth

She was laughing…
(at a joke that wasn’t there)
when in the middle of Times Square,
her legs melted
from pelvis down.

High left cheekbone
smacked-kiss the pavement,
spilling rubies on filth

that pushed concrete into her flesh.

At the emergency room,
I watched bits of New York City
pocking the skin under her eye.

“What happened?”
I said,
after two nurses left the room.

“Dunno.” Silent tears said she did.

“It’s all right.” I walked to her,
and held her. “You’re all right.
We’ll figure it out, won’t we?”

“I was on my way to work,” she said,
“and heard Mami called me supermana.
I’ve been exhausted. Couldn’t stop laughing.”

I hugged her closer to my chest, rocking her,
when the hurt began to crack;
while she sobbed about her office being miles away
from Times Square; when she wept for her mom,
who had been gone for nineteen years.

Process Note: side effects of sleep deprivation include (but are not limited to) impaired judgement, hallucinations and micro-sleep—falling asleep for short periods of time without being aware of it. Many people living with chronic pain also endure sleep deprivation. ~ Healthline

for NaPoWriMo with Magaly Guerrero 2015, Day 23 – Pain and Sleep: Write a poem that explores the intricate relationship between pain and sleep.

Sleep Deprivation, by Hazel Mabbott“Sleep Deprivation”, by Hazel Mabbott

21 thoughts on “Spilling Rubies on Filth

  1. As I eat yogurt from a coconut shell at 0415, pain and exhaustion is throughly felt… I’ve been there, the inside joke is well understood.

  2. Going and going until you just can’t any longer. Sleep is one of the first things we tend to sacrifice, but eventually it catches up. I always wondered if the hallucinations were the body’s was to force us to dream, whether awake or asleep.

  3. Such a vivid experience–I have had my bouts with insomnia, and with reduced sleep as I age, though never at this level, but I *can* relate to that feeling of confusion, of being wrapped in cottonwool where everything seems to echo in in slo-mo—every line of this is immediate and real, Magaly– especially lines like ‘I watched bits of New York City/pocking the skin under her eye…” Fine writing. I always took sleep for granted–like the song goes, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

    • I, too, remember those days when the cool thing was to see how long we could go without sleep… Today, if I don’t get my many-hours-plus at night and then my nap (or two) in the day, I’m two steps from useless.

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