“Narcolepsy” or “A Visit to the Sleep Center”

The doctor said, “No coffee and no pills.”
Without my crutches, I could barely stand.
A widening hole no dozing ever fills
Had grabbed me, and I swam in sinking sand.
My body was commanding me to sleep
And sending squads of dreams to come invade.
At times they’d charge; at others crawl or creep
And wait for signs that I’d begun to fade.

Those traits, — disarming smiles and wit that’s quick—
Those labels that construct identity,
Became unglued and would no longer stick.
I couldn’t grasp what I’d been calling “Me.”
My head would drop; my being seemed to shake
Throughout my struggle to remain awake.

[1st draft of an Elizabethan sonnet by Paul Burgess]

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