When You're Gone


Part 1

When you’re gone…


It’s 11 p.m. and…

Soft, warm blankets encompass my body.

The sweet scent of lavender fills my soul,

And I once again prepare for sleep.


It’s 12 a.m. and…

I’m still awake, but I’m so exhausted

My body aches in need of rest, but my mind won’t relax.

Like an automatic alert system, it says,

“You have 9,000 appointments starting at 10 a.m.”

“You need to have 800 things done by class at 11 a.m.”

“Don’t forget to e-mail the 40 people you haven’t e-mailed back yet.”

“Don’t forget”

“Do more”

“Work harder”


It’s 1 a.m. and…

I stare at the blinding light of my phone screen

Waiting for exhaustion to take over my mind

And allow sleep to overcome my anxiety.

Endless distractions keep my mind occupied as my body fools it into falling asleep.


It’s 2 a.m. and…

I finally drift to sleep.


It’s 3 a.m. and…

The dreams start to take me over.

Life is normal and fine, the same as it is in reality.

Things are going well, but there is an ominous feeling in the air –

It’s trying to swallow me whole.


It’s 4 a.m. and…

I’m running.

In a cold sweat that feels like failure, I’m running

From the heartbreak of having a child with cancer


The terror of having an intruder in my home


The fear of the bomb that’s falling from the sky


Everything that could ever potentially destroy my life.


It’s 5 a.m. and…

There’s nowhere left to run.

My dream life has taken over.

I’m drowning in sorrow and fear,

And no emotions are left for me to feel.


It’s 6 a.m. and…

I wake up, and the blankets that are supposed to feel like warm kittens

Feel like sticky rag dolls in my sweat.

The dream world around me is gone,

But I’m left with this one,

And in this moment it feels just as bad

Because what if all of that is just symbolic for

All of this.


It’s 7 a.m. and…

I don’t want to sleep anymore,

But I know I have to.

And I start over, scrolling through the endless sea of distractions.

Waiting for sleep to embrace me.


It’s 8 a.m. and…

I fall asleep once again.


It’s 9 a.m. and…

Waking up is hard.

The alternate reality of my dreams still haunts my mind

But I don’t want to take on this day.

Not yet…


Part 2

When you’re here…


It’s 10 p.m. and…

We finished dinner a while ago,

And we’re watching tv,

And I can’t help but fall asleep.

With no effort and no thought

I drift into a sweet slumber on your soft shoulder.


It’s 11 p.m. and…

You ask if I’m sleeping, and

For the 5th time I say no,

But you know I’m lying so

You take me to bed.


It’s 12 p.m. and…

I sleep easy.


It’s 1 a.m. and…

I sleep easy.


It’s 2 a.m. and…

I sleep easy.


It’s 3 a.m. and…

I sleep easy.


It’s 4 a.m. and…

I sleep easy.


It’s 5 a.m. and…

I sleep easy.


It’s 6 a.m. and…

I sleep easy.


It’s 7 a.m. and…

I sleep easy.


It’s 8 a.m. and…





It’s 9 a.m. and…

We wake up and make breakfast,

And all is well.


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