Sleep lives inside the bed, the same color as the inside of eyelids,
but deeper and flecked in the stardust of neural connections.
The bed is a thin membrane separating the body from rest,
from submerging the self in fathoms of watery dreams.
But sleep lives not just in the mattress but in wherever the sleeper is,
floor, earth, archway, pavement, or park.
Ice is an awful thing in the winter,
the worst combination of bad footing and unsure ground.
Falling could mean chipped teeth, a cracked rib,
a skull that decides it’s thin as an eggshell.
But that’s exactly how thin a skull is,
exactly how it leaks with dreams when the membrane breaks
and the bed opens up.
Even during a night spent near a park pond in February,
sleep is a welcome bed mate.
And after the dreamer rolls in a wine fog into the lake full of cracks,
sears his lungs in ice,
a muddy cold mermaid’s mattress waits in the dark,
his neural connections winking off like stars submerged in bloody–eyed dawn.
Gillian Daniels attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Workshop in 2011. Since the end of the workshop, she packed up, moved to the Boston–area, and published work in Electric Velocipede, PodCastle, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Flash Fiction Online, and Flying Higher: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry.