The child’s restful sleep is lost
To the hisses of serpents and other seditious demons
Who hover above, then dart down and buffet her with the beats of bony wings,
Their brimstone breath and dripping talons burrow into the child’s amygdala,
Hurling her back to the place from whence she had escaped,
The cursed land of the awake,
Where she had waited for hours in rooms painted wilted-dandelion yellow for news,
For an explanation
Then a diagnosis
Then a surgical plan:
A tumor excision under general anesthesia,
Scheduled for today.
The child has been living nightmares.
This, then, is a gift:
She breathes in the gas,
Its scent is not nectar but not sulfurous, at least.
She breathes out,
Each breath caught by a sail,
Propelling her on,
Along the shoreline in
Careless, Timeless, Dreamless
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