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Insomnia, a Poem by Christina E. Petrides

My stomach warm with bread,

milk, honey chamomile,

I lie down at midnight.

Three hours thence I stare

dry-eyed into the black

air beyond the bedclothes.

I take stock countless times;

stay innocent of light;

grimly muffle noises;

Relax each tight fiber;

imagine nothingness;

despair in wild prayer.

Yet rest scrambles away,

its claws tearing my plans,

puncturing my dreams.

Last, I watch time fluoresce,

reject my need for sleep—

helpless in looming dawn.


Born in San Antonio, Texas, and raised in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) in Georgia, USA, Christina E. Petrides now lives on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea. Her poems have been published in periodicals around the world. Her new verse collection is On Unfirm Terrain (Kelsay Books, forthcoming). She is the author of two children’s books: Blueberry Man (2020; Korean translation, 2021), and The Refrigerator Ghost (Korean translation, 2022). Christina co-translated Maria Shelyakhovskaya’s Utverzhdenie v liubvi. Istoria odnoi russkoi sem’i: 1872-1981 (Being Grounded in Love: A History of One Russian Family, 1872-1981), into English manuscript. Her website is


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