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Each night I bid good evening to the great mass in my closet. Turn off the lights, turn on the fan, crawl into bed. It's getting harder now, to fall asleep, knowing what is coming, but 3 milligrams of melatonin does its job neat and tidy. I fall asleep on my back, hands splayed wide. I dream but do not remember.

The next night, I lie outside my closet doors for hours. Aching in the moonlight, I find it hard to breathe. I cannot sleep so I read The Metamorphosis, eyes wide and unfocused, words blurring like cars speeding down the street. I long to change instead of haunt. I dream of breaking the lineage.

I can feel it coming. Tonight I watch through the window carefully, butcher knife in hand. I know my focus should lie elsewhere. Tears keep escaping from my eyes and I white-knuckle the knife as if somehow that will stop the blade from rusting. The curtains all around me are a burial shroud, my last savior from the inside world. I dream of flowers on my grave.

My record player is broken again. I can no longer listen to Moonlight Sonata. I try to trace the grooves myself, dirty fingernails up on pointe. The scratching doesn't block out the call though. I disconnected my phone and found it here, in my head. I dream of my hands bound, tied to everyone before and after me.

The thing in my closet is bringing me home. I guess I’ve put it off long enough. I taste the raw steak I had for dinner, my last refuge from humanity. I should be ready, I know, and at least I’m prepared; dressed all in white, I am something to behold. I cannot brush my hair before I go, I can’t make myself do it. Even my hands refuse to move for once. I do not dream.

(You need not be afraid, you were born for this)

Alexis LaMantia is a poet-and-punk born and raised in New Jersey. They have a penchant for the queer, the morbid, and the holy. Find them on Twitter: @amjlamantia.
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20 May 2024

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