Insomnia in Winter by Jessica Purdy

Insomnia in Winter

Puddles merge to form a lake in the driveway.
Plump drops almost snowlike hit the window.
The house is falling into the earth. A sinkhole
eats the garage. It’s getting closer to the kitchen
as I speak. The sump pump drones on mindless
in the basement. My sleep ruined, I’m awake
at 3 am again. It’s not my friend, this un-time.
Undermining and obsessive, my thoughts are brain
worms squirreling into the crevices.
Clothes and bed damp. I don’t want
any fundamental things. No hierarchy of needs here.
My wants are outside myself, but they live inside me.
They burrow down. Earthworms disappeared
back in September. Leaves were disappeared
in November and the blowers have come
and done away with their garbage. What haven’t I done?
Well, I haven’t needed to pee in a while.
I drank water 5 hours ago. The backs
of my knees are slick with sweat. Everything
is damp in December. Who’s got their lights on already?
Their twinkle covers bushes and trees
and glows against the houses. I feel that old
feeling of looking in from the outside.
Briefly I imagine I’m meditating. I’m looking
at myself from above. A fat earthworm
unearthed and bloated in the driveway. Even I have a heart.
Anytime now it’ll be spring again. First I’ll need
to drink a lot of tea. Heat up the car.
Oh, now I’m not meditating anymore.
Was I ever? When the windows fog
I’ll turn on the wipers, the defroster.
Wonder if ever again I’ll see flowers emerge.
Won’t their little expressions be otherworldly?
Won’t they achieve their own greatness
without even looking in the mirror? Their clean faces
scrubbed of any of the dirt they came from,
they’ll subside. Resume their longing
for the days when they had only
themselves to care for. Even the bees
will have had their fill of riches. The worms
will have done their good work. The soil will shrink,
dry out, and lie just as dormant as any old coffin. 


Jessica Purdy holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her poems have appeared in many journals including Hole in the Head Review, Museum of Americana, Gargoyle, The Plath Poetry Project, The Ekphrastic Review, SurVision, and Bluestem Magazine. Anthologies her poems have appeared in include: Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall, Nancy Drew Anthology, and Lunation. Her books STARLAND and Sleep in a Strange House were both released by Nixes Mate in 2017 and 2018. Sleep in a Strange House was a finalist for the NH Literary Award for poetry. She is poetry editor for the upcoming anthology, Ten Piscataqua Writers: Follow her on Twitter @JessicaPurdy123 and her website: