I was tired, once.

Sleep.

It escapes me

Eyes stinging, head swimming, I rise from a bed of wood

A fallen pillow-case slides beneath my feet

Three bottles and an empty glass hide a clock that reads should

Should sleep

Should rest

Should get out and be less depressed

They say depression is a black dog

But he’s never visited me

If he did, I’d put out food

And welcome the company

I’m alone

But I remember

I was tired once

In a different time

Hours ago

I was tired

But now when I lay down my head my mind awakes.

Remember the time you tripped during the school play? It says. See all these bills- how will you pay?

It reminds me of my shrinking world

Late-night drinking and memories of regret

I sip water from a tap, bending my neck

My bed calls

And I return, devout

Face by two choices:

Listen to my treacherous brain

Or drown it out

I need a distraction for my pain

But the laptop light hurts my eyes and moisture builds.

Blink.

Don’t think.

The headache returns.

My brain’s rebellion. It doesn’t like the screen.

Oh, listen to it scream

It wants to be alone with my fears.

Instead it has TV.

Flickering light and the voices of strangers for company.

It’s better not to be alone when the dark is provoked

When the bottles run dry and my fears uncloaked

Too late now to sleep

I stare mindlessly

until my doubts give up

And what’s left isn’t me

I was tired

Once.