Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Sleep Paralysis

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Sleep Paralysis

Article excerpt

At first, I thought it was just a nightmare

inspired by too many horror flicks, but then

I woke surrounded by utter darkness

unable to move my body except for the eyelids,

which I quickly blinked to prove I was alive.

But was I, really? Maybe I was already dead

and buried in the smothering dark grave,

or (worse) buried alive, a tragic mistake

I could only correct with visual Morse code,

broadcasting S O S up at my parents or God.

But nobody saw me, and I saw nothing

but nothingness, absolute blank and lack,

whether I kept my eyes open or let them shut.

I was oddly calm-not scared, just curious

about what wasn't going to happen next.

I thought about the things I'd never do.

I thought about the iron lung boy on TV.

I thought about praying Save me! but didn't.

I thought about how sad my mom would be.

I thought about crying, but no tears came.

And then I felt the faintest hint of light

in the tips of my toes, a rumor of a twitch,

and then the same flicker in my fingers

as my body began its painstakingly slow thaw

from the outside in, extremities to interior. …

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