Sweet Dream Lullaby

by Abigail Mitchell

Sometimes when the day is fading
and the birds are flocking to the tree
and the blackness of the night is fathomlessly here,
I hear it. Dark is not a blanket.
Night is not a warmth. Night is now and here I am
sitting on the train with the push and pull
and rattle of the beast beneath my feet, where I ride
half-sleeping, cold toes, frigid fingers. Sometimes
when we pull up at my station
I feel this tug at me, the moons in my chest, saying
stay aboard, plant your feet into this floor
nd let it grow you out to the coastline:
to Southend with its muddy beach and muddier waters,
stay. Imagine you are there to plant your hands
into the brownness. Bury your
troubles beneath the water. I hear it say
come now, come follow
this thread with your nose, let the tides caress your soft hair,
submerge. Sweet girl. This isn’t ideation. The sea
might feel like freedom. Like the
darkness isn’t a blanket, but deeper,
an ocean instead of a sky. Sweetheart.
Back in the world a bird is singing. Back in the
world I am getting off the train,
doors sighing shut as I climb
the steps to the street. Home.
I’m so sorry, sweet girl. There will never be as much
star as there is
darkness. (I am learning that.) But
sweetheart: you are
unravelling it in your sleep, this spool of thread of wound up
in the blanket
that isn’t the night. Sweet girl.
Stay. Submerge. This darkness.

Come, now.

Abigail grew up in London, England, and got her BA in History from Cambridge before completing her MPW at USC. She is currently a Managing Editor of Exposition Review, and her writing – fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction – can be found at Unbroken JournalThe Nervous BreakdownThe Butter, and more. Abigail likes ice hockey, Cake Boss, and living in places where it rains. She tweets: @_abbimitchell.

Photo by: Ana Prundaru