It's Four in the Morning

I wake up most nights, as if I am caught in the throes of a wicked nightmare, throttled forward into consciousness.

But I cannot remember if I have been dreaming.

When I wake up, my face is wet and like a child, my first thought is of my mother. I need you. I allow myself this thought for ten seconds before I move on. Where are you?

But I am grown now. This is mine alone.

I focus on the tangible, on what has woken me. So many days it's my jaw. Beaten by years of swelling, it is almost constantly inflamed. A dull ache that roars at 3:40 am, when I wake and shake in pain.

My feet, too. They hurt plainly, a common complaint. The banality of that soothes me. When the bones crack, I wonder if they are broken, if i injured them and then put that pain away. It is possible.

Time flies this early. I stretch, I move about. I rock back and forth, my leg as an anchor, my whole body shaking. I have rocked myself like this since I was a child. Slow, steady, why is my face still wet?

It's 5 now. Day breaks again. June feels relentless and I'd like some release. I want to wake clear. I need to get back on my feet.

I don't want to feel a thing.