Sleeping Alone Poem by Katie Finley

Sleeping Alone



It’s not so bad. At night, sleeping in this space,
Indentations of you long gone. The wall is further away,
I don’t cry into paint anymore. It’s funny how loneliness works,
How my eyes open against dark is less scary since you’ve left.

At first it was adjusting to lack of warmth—I added
Another comforter, then another. You used to hate my feet cold
On top of yours—having you meant allowance
For hatred of socks and all things confining.

Now I am seldom without them. Socks and comforters
As warm as your body heat, warmer than your eyes
Ever were anyway. The space between disappeared and instead
I sleep, dream-floating in a sea of pillows softer than arms that used to hold me.

Still, even with your smell absent from sheets, you are here.
The space is bigger but it is bigger compared to space
Of youandme. Hands strangle stuffed animals, as if to make absent
Respirations my ears echo, your breath like a seashell cupped against an ear in night.

Hands like the mind before sleep, the night-voice. Cutting off
Your breath, untangling limbs from phantom limbs.
The absence of breath at my whim so my heart can stop
Beating me conscious. People say it’s lonely but they’re only too awake.

I am tired and there is just enough space to unfold, to sink
Deep into flesh, my flesh, bone over bone over bone.
As big without you as I was before, bigger still in the dark—
Dark without any shadow of you to frighten me awake.

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