Parapraxis by HLR

I worry that you lie awake beside me,
listening to me breathe, wondering
with whom and where I’ve been,
and I am afraid that it’s his name that I speak
out loud, into the darkness
when my brain is steeped in drunken reverie.
He features so regularly in my dreams now
that the odds of his name escaping from my mouth
are stacked against us on the nightstand
with the unread books, the stolen looks
and the conversations you don’t know we have.


Does his name hang above our bed,
a mosquito net with human-sized holes in it?
Have my drug-induced murmurs hurt your heart,
his name a subconscious stab in the dark?


When I wake from my intoxicant-addled sleep
your side is empty, you have already gone.
I don’t know what damage has or hasn’t been done,
so I send you a message saying,

I had horrible dreams last night 😦

hoping that if indeed I did say his name aloud
you’ll think that it’s all okay
because I meant it in a bad, bad, nightmarish way.
But really, I think my dreams about him are horrible
because they’re not reality
and I really want them to be.
(I’m so sorry).


HLR is a 20-something writer of poetry, short prose and CNF. She writes primarily about her own experiences with mental illness, grief and addiction. Her work has featured in streetcake, Dear Damsels, In Parentheses, Lunate, Re-side, Constellate, Anti-Heroin Chic, and others. HLR was born and raised in north London, and is yet to escape. Read more at and @treacleheartx

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