I sleep in two-hour increments, waking when the fridge kicks on in the middle of the night. My head searches for an intruder that is really just water freezing into cubes. I begin to scream but a yawn hijacks my mouth. I forgot to set the alarm when I fell into bed, the warmth pooling beneath three layers of blankets, the uneasiness imprinted like a tattoo as I tried to fall asleep. I knew full well my rest was only temporary. The dishes remained in the sink like a recurring oddity; the door I thought I had already closed.

In my dreams I am the child who can't stop crying. I am the babysitter, wielding soothing words, whose arms are too weak to pick him up and hold him. They are watching my futile attempts, and I keep smiling, nodding, and reassuring them that I can do this. I grab under his arms, lift with my legs but his is dead weight and he slips from me.

I am the lover who has already slept with your best friend. I am the mouth full of smoke, waiting to blow it between his lips to char his wet throat. I do not hesitate in helping hide his body; you killed him in a jealous rage and I do not want to be held responsible. Labeled "CAUSE" for this effect.

The children I should have been watching stand on the porch railing outside the trailer. It bends beneath them and I watch, wanting to reach out and pluck them away from it; it was not built to hold them for long. They count to three and jump, the wood barking beneath their feet and I want to call to them but they can't hear me.

I am the girl in the ditch we dug together, accomplices. You reach for something to use against me, and find the only treasure a poor kid in a trailer park is entitled to: a discount-store bike. It is thrown by your hands and I hear the loud, blaring smack as the handle strikes me and my eyes go dark.

I ran my silver loop through the eye of my key, sliding it infinitely through and through the gap. I wore torn blue jeans yesterday. The pair that have been washed too many times; they are dissolving. The light had begun to glow from behind the northern horizon, but I couldn't wait for the sun. With a pitiful resignation I had driven home instead. To crawl in bed, to close my eyes and dream these things. They seemed too vivid to be subconscious. I wiped tears off the child's cheek. I relished the strong lips of your best friend on mine, the smoke in my mouth. I ran my hands through his stick-straight brown hair. I felt your feeble hands on my back, pushing me too hesitantly. I only fell because I lost my balance and could find it again. I shrank against the wet dirt beneath me in fear as the bicycle was thrown from the height you stood at. I heard the metal handlebar hit my skin before it hit bone.

A cup of coffee for each hour that I didn't sleep. Another stick of incense has been lit and I keep thinking I can see the molecules of smoke that have dissipated, dispersed in my air. I feel I must still be dreaming. Things this subtly disturbing have no place outside of dreams.