Mother Kept Me Awake

By Yumi Ilagan

Mom said I should keep the lights on
Even when I need to go to sleep.
I have known that and have always tried.

Mom knew that I drift into another world in my sleep.
She did not like it.
So every time she sensed that I was drifting away,
She would shake me awake.
I did not like it.

One night, I saw her keep and lock the knives in the drawer.
She never gave me the keys even if I politely asked for it.
She had also kept my medicine in a cupboard
And kept it locked until it was time for me to take them.

Mom said I should keep the lights on
Even when I need to go to sleep
Because she said I loved the dark too much
And she was afraid that one night the dark would take me away
And that I would gladly go.

Mom knew everything, except one
Or maybe two
Or maybe three.
Mom didn’t know that the dark already had.
Mom didn’t know how I feel when the dark consumes my mind,
When oblivion falls into my thoughts,
When death lingers in my conscious thoughts,
Just enough for me to crave the sensation of them.

So I kept the lights on, even when I needed to go to sleep.
Well, at least I have tried.

Now, I am looking for the keys my mother has kept
Because the dark has come once again,
And I am afraid to go back.