To an IKEA Light


The only sound is a high-pitched hum from just above my ear, from the fluorescent bulb sheathed in IKEA-white plastic. I wiggle my jaw tentatively. Bones shift and clunk and make their own music as they lodge into place again. I like the night. The silence. The stillness. The freedom from the over-stimulating light of day.

In the muted light my thoughts stumble one over another. First, slowly, then all in a rush to fill the stillness. I watch and paw and grab the ones I can. Some are sausage-like: fat and juicy and just about to split. Others are lean and spare. Some escape. But in the darkness there are more. Always more.

Some nights are particularly chaotic. My eyes find and focus on the ladder a loitering streetlight forces through the blinds. Lights from passing cars scurry cockroach-like across my window: first white, then red. My feet dissociate, and I puzzle over their motivation for secession and whether they will ever rejoin my legs again. I toss and turn and every movement envelops me in a never-ending roll of bed linen. My thoughts fly wild – they escape and form a midge cloud above my head and I drown from their weight: head beneath the pillow, nose pressed against an unyielding mattress in an effort to escape their manic energy.

Sometimes, I don’t.

If I am particularly energetic I will gasp myself free, turn, turn on my IKEA light – and write.

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