Rationalizing My Hydro Bill

by Emory Oakley

 Artwork by Yvonne Hanson

Artwork by Yvonne Hanson

 

I fell asleep with the light on
because I am not good
at goodbyes. It didn't stop anyone from walking
through the cracked jaw of this house
leaving shattered teeth on the doorstep.
I fell asleep with the light on,
again. With my mouth open
words spilling from lazy jaw
I have forgotten how to speak in a room full of people. They
have cut off my tongue
with their own teeth.
They didn't even notice
just kept talking. Letting their words fall out
messy. Leaving them on the kitchen floor
for me, to clean up in the morning.
They do not care if anyone listens, speak
as if assuming the whole world stops for them.
I fell asleep with the light on
because I am afraid the walls will speak to me in the darkness
echo back all of the broken stories
keeping me awake wondering
if my hands are big enough to hold the world
or small enough to put these pieces back together.
I am lonely. Often the loneliest in a crowd of people.
I become the open door
the stairwell to the attic
the spiders web in the corner of the ceiling
no one notices until
they want to kill me.
I fell asleep with the light on
hopeful my dreams would be brighter
though this house clings to darkness
like it is preparing for winter
for the apocalypse
and there is nowhere to hide.


Emory Oakley is a spoken word poet, fiction and non-fiction writer, and performer from Vancouver, BC. They represented BC at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW) twice in 2015 and 2017. They have authored three chapbooks of poetry, Unsent Letters (2016) and Red (2017) and There's Nothing Left to Burn (2018).