Insomnia

Listen, my dear alones, over there across the city.
–Gina Berriault, Women in Their Beds

1.

perfect dark interrupted—pierced through—

bolts of yellowed light fallen, indifferent 

hands of the wolf’s eye moon. 

I dream more easily in silence,

but the neighborhood dogs wage war

with the neighborhood rats.

I lie three floors above the street,

listening. Battle cries & carnage

punctuated with ghost cars

tearing through my 3am. 

3am & I am here—alone— 

even with this many bodies

in close proximity to mine

2.

dear feral moon, cast my heart

with an entire quiver

of your bone-colored lightshards.

may every shadow’s absence blitz me

into new slumber—beast-light sleep, 

unbroken by the city’s penumbral viciousness. 

may sheets of softer lightning 

rain down      upon this half-vacant bed

3. 

O passing hours      the sky begins to brighten

& the moon has left my pleas unheeded.

splash of dawn splashing

in pools of darkened crimson. 

the moon glides beneath the horizon 

with ease,      making home

the misted hollows spreading 

below my eyes.

brushing cobwebs from this moth-gnawed

mattress, I’m slapped 

with a stroke of pure exhaustion.


& the dogs lick one another’s ripped maws,

& the cars cleave their way through my sleeplessness,

& the icy half-moons crashing against my eyelids—

daybreak arrives in languid waves,

cobalt heavens      simmering 

into a stained glass mosaic

the hue of open wounds & bruises.


Malik, a brown skinned Black person in black glasses, sits in front of an open binder containing papers that are typed upon. He is wearing a yellow corduroy jacket, a yellow beanie, and a grey patterned scarf. A sunlit field of trees encompasses the background of the photo.

Malik Thompson is a Black queer man from Washington, DC. His work appears, or is forthcoming, in Sundog Lit, Cobra Milk, MQR Mixtape, and other places. A Cave Canem fellow, he has also received support from Lambda Literary, Brooklyn Poets, and other organizations.