Trying to sleep


Pat, pat, pat

Cough, spit, mucous


“that means you’re getting better”



Coughing again

Bloody underwear

A scream


“it’s part of growing up”



Blood from Mom’s face

Where the coffee cup struck

I closed my eyes, but not soon enough

Now that’s all I see when I close my eyes



I held it inside,

Let them do what they want

It stayed inside me for years, like poison

‘The blood-curdling scream’



I lost the babies

I couldn’t keep them safe

They floated away

In a river



I can’t sleep with the light off

Because in the dark

Everything is red.



For many years, I stifled my grief. I grieved over a lost childhood; for growing up too soon. I grieved as a teenager; lost and alone. I grieved as a mother; wondering if I was really meant to be. I would push down my feelings, tears, screams, and thoughts. I tried to move on. I had a breakdown. For years I dreamed in red, like I was looking through a screen. It scared me to dream this way. I felt anxious in my waking hours, and fought sleep. This poem came to me, and I wanted to honor that part of my life: the depths of grief. I have been through this deep grief, and it no longer haunts me daily. I will confess, if I am having an anxious day, I will sleep with the light on. I feel more secure in the light when anxiety is hanging around. Thank you for reading. I honor: self, the light in me, and the light in you.





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