Hello, Insomnia

by sophie

….I used to have this recurrent dream of walking down a long glass-encased hallway, suspended in blank, black space. I was always walking slowly toward a bend in the hallway – it curved off to the left. As I began to reach the curve in the hallway, I would glimpse a tiger bounding through the space, seemingly in slow motion. I walked, and the tiger galloped towards the curve. Every time, we would reach the curve simultaneously and he would leap, his huge body falling precisely, inevitably towards the glass, filling the frame of my vision, my anticipation of the breaking glass, his weight against me — that’s when I’d wake up. There was also the recurrent dream of enormous wolves, but that’s another story. I can’t remember the last time I had either dream, though recently I dreamed of a talking rat, similar in essence to the dream of the tiny dog I didn’t know what to do with, so wrapped him in tinfoil like a baked potato.

….for my MFA application to Columbia University, I have to write an essay under 1,000 words in response to a book of poetry written & published in the last 10 years. I’m thinking of writing about Noelle Kocot’s Poem for the End of Time and Other Poems or maybe Nick Flynn’s Some Ether. My responses to each collection have been equally strong; I have revisited the books equally in the past four or five years. With Flynn’s book, I respond firstly on a visceral emotional level, whereas with Kocot, my lyric and linguistic imagination is what first becomes activated. What to write about? What indeed. A long afternoon with coffee & these books will help me to decide.

…. I have finished my soup. It is 4:01 a.m., Eastern Standard Time. There is no one, really, to speak to at this hour, which is a good hour for thinking and writing. At night sometimes the world feels more open, I can think more clearly. When I lived in Boston, I loved this hour, loved looking out over the Fens, especially in summer, smelling the slight hint of sea air & strange marsh, the sweet stench of the city, the YMCA lights winking their song from a few blocks away. I should attempt sleep again. In four and a half hours I am promised to a two year old girl who will want to play, want to tell me again about the cat who has died, the horses she imagines. She believes that Christmas is a place, cannot understand the concept of a holiday, will ask again, “When are we going to Christmas?” She will hold up the dead phone to her ear, nodding, whispering to someone, “Yes, I love you. Okay. I love you too.”

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