Approaching slumber with an exhausted body
And a full brain, drifting peacefully to sleep
Expecting the normal panoply of odd dreams
To be tossed and turned in their oneiric blender

Brick by brick, as a mason builds, so too have
My walls been constructed, sturdily and with
Perhaps too much care, yet with an overabundance
Of self-delusion being their shaky foundation

The nightly tales unfold in my internal monitor
And lull me into that seemly and rare stasis
That is rest or what lately passes for such,
A fair simulacrum of relaxation and repose

Stealthily and with malice, the walls begin to
Close upon me, a latent claustrophobia activating
With such vehemence that I have to check to see
Whether my chest is actually being crushed

Bolt upright is a troubling way to awake
Jumping so high that a medal could be earned
If there were competitions for the terror-plagued
And the generally uneasy, or is that everyone?

Even with my eyes open, the demons float and
Taunt and flagellate and I know that they are not
Real but they are a cipher for troubles that are
Certainly cogent and impending and inescapable

Deep breathing and mantra chanting and other coping
Tools work to an extent and calm briefly restores
Before I lay back down and the horrors return
With renewed vigor so that I must again leap from bed

Pacing, shaking, freaking, stumbling, mumbling
I cannot recover my bearings and my eyelids
Strain from the pressure of attempting to remain
Awake lest I be swallowed back into the pit

Mustering the courage to crawl back under the covers
I clock that the sheets have been soaked through
From the exertion of my subconscious thrashing
So I am now hot and cold simultaneously

The window is my savior, repeated glances outside
Reminding me that I am not trapped but
Simply in what I believed was a safe space
But feels precarious, a cruel dichotomy

The bliss of family time and powder days
Is undercut by the abyss of knowing that
Everything will end, that my parents will perish,
A recognized inevitability that nonetheless torments

Long aware of the mortality of others, constantly
Reminded by the untimely passings, I have my
First exposure to fear of my own demise, a novel
And unsettling mania that drives my despair

Panic attacking me at midnight rings as a critical
Alarm, a precognition that my time may have come,
That I will be taken from those that need me,
Removed from the joys of existence

Running from that which scares is instinctual
But I have made it habitual and I am not fleet
Enough to escape the bounds of space-time
Nor so strong as to transcend the gravity of sadness

As my eyes flutter closed for a renewed effort
At zzzzzzz, the imminent dread of burial cancels out
The vertigo of feeling that I cannot keep friction upon
This earth, a blessing of diametric forces

With the morn comes relief and also trauma
As I can acutely feel the damaged cells in my
Heart and head, the hole into which a bit more
Of my naivete and avoidance is lost

Taking inventory of all that makes me smile
Is the perfect antidote, the salve to a wounded night
A reset puts me back on the path, a reminder
To hold onto everything, but with a more relaxed grip

Alpenglow Law, LLC | Vail Law Firm
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