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Image by Mark Tegethoff


fran fernández arce

Four in the morning, it wakes me up. Four forty,

it keeps me awake. I cradle the heat pack one more time,


shaking those wheat grains and dried lavender

petals into awareness. The heat soothes my left shoulder


blade like a finite comfort and so, it keeps me

awake. Sitting up in bed, the soft tapping of the rain


against the bedroom windows mimics the quiet walking

of a stranger searching for our door. I seem to be dreaming


in another language where every creak and midnight moan

speaks to me in suspicion. The thought of intruders at night


keeps me awake too. Around six in the morning, it lets

me go but sleep does not let itself creep all over me


like a soft drop of consciousness, a mantle of obscurity

coming to engulf me. Sleeps dreams and a switch flips,


a brand-new layer of darkness covering the nocturnal stillness

of the bedroom descends. What I suppose happens is that my eyes just


get too tired of staring into nothing. Dreams are all but gone

now. If they were to drop by, knock on the window like raindrops


do, I would shower them with rocks. Except my arms

would be too tired to move. Dreams keep me awake, aware


of another entity besides the muscles in my back. They

acknowledge a reality where I can hold myself without


the disruption of my joints. I do not ask for the nonsensical

narratives but a void, an absence of a hurting body. Dreams can inch


towards as long as they do not remind me of the night to come,

of how it always returns, this careless aching insomnia of mine.

Fran Fernández Arce is a Chilean poet currently living in the intersection between Suffolk, England, and Santiago, Chile. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Pollux Journal, The Alchemy Spoon, and Anamorphoseis, among others. She is a poetry reader for The Walled City Journal and poetry editor for Moonflake Press.

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