To Wake

   They say it’s like coming out of sleep. It is I suppose. But sleep is restful. Waking brings you to a new day bright and full of possibility. What really happens here though is the catalogue. I wake to neck pain, shallowness of breath and a bright speckle of paranoid fear. The room has the shadow of someone else in here with me, but there never is. I’m snug enough in a tangle of blankets. Dawn brightens flimsy curtains. My nose is stuffed with mould, mildew, some dust or pollen or just the general shittiness of here. I, it, me – we need to get in shape. But there’ll be no running today, no workout. Tacky with overnight sweat, pinned under leaden bedding, I roll over and consider the pervasive cold. I can see my breath. I can see a doorless cupboard of cheap clothes. I can see scuffed plaster walls. A fan hums in the corner. In the middle of winter, a fan. It will have been keeping me company.
   This is what you wanted to try? What wretched mess am I in now.


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