Tell-Tale Head

My mind is a light with no off-switch.
On nights like these it leaves my body
and hovers like a ghost at the end of my bed,
kneading my sheets with restless knuckles
and staring at me in anticipation.

I want to tell it to calm down, to stop pacing,
to quit twiddling its thumbs and scratching at the door –
I’m trying to sleep here

but sleep, like an agitated cat,
never comes

and when it does,
only nudges my fingers
before darting again into the shadows.

My head is a heartbeat under the floorboards.
I grow familiar with the noise

but like Poe, am driven mad
by the drumming sounds of my own
hysterical body.

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15 thoughts on “Tell-Tale Head

  1. the image of your mind leaving your body is spooky. the image of the mind kneading the sheets and the end of the bed is quite visual for me. you “ground” the poem with the line “I’m trying to sleep here,” which is humorous in its complaining tone. but there is nothing particularly humorous about one’s mind refusing to shut off when sleep is so needed, is there?

  2. Good words put to an experience many share. I, too, like the image of your mind at the end of your bed. Mine has been there as well! I particularly like your comparison of sleep to an agitated cat that won’t come – perfect!

Thoughts? I love those.

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