by Emma Sheinbaum

I’m going to bed early tonight, please

leave the light off.

I can’t stay

up any longer

because being awake is too painful,

because going to sleep is like taking a breath, I

don’t know how to explain this to you except

every blink is a wink at the future,

where everything can

go wrong, every inhale

is toxic air going in every exhale

my last sweet thoughts going out,

        a drop of honey that isn’t   


        clings to the white strand

        bending, almost snapping

        from the honeysuckle

during recess in middle school, there

were bushes at the top

of a hill sloping steep with

dirt patches and overgrown grass on the way

to the bush we hiked only

to extract the honeysuckle nectar that they would eat

and I would not, but

would extract from the green petaled flowers hiding

in green leaves anyway.

I tore the stem apart, I

pulled the white thread, I watched

the drop cling to the end

of nature’s string, I


watched the kids around me close

their lips around it, I didn’t notice

the gleam the sun had put inside it, and I

let it fall to the ground,

faking sweetness on my tongue. I will not

be awake to watch it fall I will

not watch the nectar seep into the ground

I will

feel pill chalk scratch

against my tongue and

pray that I melt

into the pilling sheets.

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