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Matchbook Lullaby

Time stalks near.

There is no sleep

in the sticky tar of night

round the fireflies I strike to life

on the cardboard sleeve

with a strip of red - Strike Here.


Little gasps of lightning

twitch the restful midnight air,

and I whisper to the souls

of families folded in their beds

“All is broken beyond repair.”

So now I try to weld my limbs

though my mind won’t reappear

staying with those drifting souls

beyond this landscape of despair.


Alight! Alight! I guard my soul

from the clock's deformed arms.

I set myself on fire

and now

there is no cold no hunger

no sorrow

that could ache my body

or drain my marrow.

I’m a faithless witch

a heretic, burning on a pyre.


Brain released to eternal flight

it dreams and skips

without a care

for the wicked clock that grins with eyes

of pale delight

for the lives it gobbles up tonight.

All hapless souls who close their eyes

are sacrificing half their lives

to the jealous god of time.


Could the gentle hand of Mother Earth

now reach out to me?

Walk me home by the light of the flames

she’ll tuck me in at last

for the sweetest sleep, the longest night,

I’ll hold her hand until I droop

and the bed of dirt will wrap me tight

far from the trumpet of morn.

Further Explanation

This poem is inspired by Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton's works, but also my own life. It navigates the feelings of despair and hopelessness inherent in depression. It veers through the fog of numbness created by the self-harm that so often accompanies depression, as well as the underlying wish for death to bring peace at last.

© 2016 Emily

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