Bedtime

Location

The clock curdles past midnight,
Cradles the blinking colon and starts swaying,
Starts praying for more merciful numbers,
And I know that contrition more than I know my own pillow.
When I was a child, I used to scuffle under my covers, shrink into flower print comforters
And let the night swallow me while I flickered in my cave of dawn 
That bubbling sun I got when everyone else was sleeping.
And soon the light started seeping, began water coloring the room
And I knew that I had grown up when staying up wasn't fun anymore.
Last night,
I curled over my desk,
Suspended like a wave stitched into the single second before collapse. 
I was yanking at my temples, bunching them into more attractive cathedrals,
Bowing my brain into knowledge, just ended up bobbing against my neck.
I was clawing from my bed, separating serotonin from striving,
I need to purge the moon, act like sun swaddles my spirit,
But it feels dark now, and I think it's because of all the nights I skipped,
The moons I shaved into suns, the snooze buttons I refused to hit for fear of hammocking in rest.
Perhaps this is sudden,
But I realize that I do not know myself.
Have not chased the alarm clock to cradle my own breath, because I know
I don't remember the last time I went to bed before 12 on a school night.
Last week, my principal called me into a meeting to tell me she's worried that I've stretched myself too thin,   
Can see the fractures eclipsing my frame and fraying me past this haunting noon - she said 
Jessica, I think that you've gone too far 
Unraveled wrists, rubbed erasers to tips
And my dad said this:
Vice and virtue are the same with you- perfectionism spoils my mind into thinking all of this is worth it -
You can make a life of stringing straight A's into smiles,
Knitting cheeks into believable curves, but if you only know yourself in an infinitive collapse, neatly splattered on college applications, feigned happy days and
Resumes, you might be stuck oozing into yourself,
I've seen myself retract, snap back, paddle, crack into shatters
Wintered shriveled skin until it couldn't feel anything
And perhaps this is sudden, but I realize that
I've been living behind glass, 
Being exhausted music box, a hollow chest cavity stirring itself to sleep
All this time, 
My skin has been puddling my blood
Stitching the unfit dripping liquids together
Shaping my journals in case someone should untuck my pages and gaze at this slaughtered mess,
My pathetically blest cursive and mistakes -
But I'm sick of loving myself conditionally,
Of cracking spines of spiral notebooks only if it would be a story someone would like to hear
Im sick Of begging for forgiveness for bad days 
Of swearing to hide fresh scars and nightmares 
The other day,
My mother said that she hopes that any despairing can find God
And I say - if you believe humanity's puzzle pieced divinity-
I hope we can find ourselves -
The shredded ankles tired from journeys
The sandpapered fingers almost void of ridged prints
I hope we can find
The divine marrow dribbling morning into this darkness -
 Love The insolvent faults - if there comes a time when I can shrug off the bad nights
And learn to go to bed early.
This poem is about: 
Me

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