Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash
Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

Insomnia, Part XIV

Night of the long torso, night of the black ski mask,
night without gender on the fallow fields and burning
stubble of Idaho, night of the fox with snow in its ears,
the birds grackling, night that grows a beard of Celsius
in Rapid City with the bus station locked, night
of blanket failure that sticks to everything, night
with pulleys that elevate the feet, night that builds
to a gastric disturbance, night of internal monologue
and involuntary isometrics, night of indefinite when
and where, so effort counts for nothing, night
composed of negations, a space without magenta,
night with a gradient steeper than a sugar crash,
night that watches my qualities decrease with age, night
that stands by while I fall and fall and fall and fall and fall.

Contributor's Note:

"In an effort to conform to the shopworn proscription, 'Write what you know,' I’ve been composing an open-ended series of poems dealing with my most common experience: insomnia. 'Insomnia, Part XIV' is inspired, in part, by a stanza from Pablo Medina’s poem, 'Nocturno de Washington.'"

Author Bio:

Alan Elyshevitz is the author of a collection of stories, The Widows and Orphans Fund (SFA Press), and three poetry chapbooks, most recently Imaginary Planet (Cervena Barva). His poems have appeared in River Styx, Nimrod International Journal, and Water ̴ Stone Review, among many others. Winner of the James Hearst Poetry Prize from North American Review and the Nightjar Poetry Prize, he is also a two-time recipient of a fellowship in fiction writing from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. For further information, visit