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Poem: “Insomnia” by Briana Joseph|Submission Saturday

Recently, I have been suffering

from a severe case of insomnia.

I lie in bed wondering how many

voices I have escaped in the daytime.

People tell me to count sheep but at night the only sheep I can count are the

black children sewn up

Lying in boxes colder and larger than the ones they store their toys in.

I am forced to acknowledge the things that I have desperately been ignoring

like the skull left dripping golden brain matter

Splattered like a Jackson Pollock painting on the sidewalk.

See that’s the thing about black people, we become a chalk outline on the pavement

Only for our brown skin to become the dirt that cultivates the tulips and daisies they decorate our graves with.

At night, I constantly shift in discomfort and I’d like to think that I twist and

press into the mattress with hopes of somehow leaving my imprint in these sheets as a reminder

A reminder that I am able to leave my mark on this earth with my body’s own power beyond a hashtag.

That I still have a body. That I am matter. That I


They tell me to listen to music but the only lullaby my ears are attuned to is the ambient wailing of a police siren.

In ancient mythology, the siren was a creature that led sailors to death with its song.

How befitting of the relationship between the black man and the men in blue. Lured with the promise of

protection only to become shipwrecked with the realization that they were merely chasing a whisper.

How easily the things we had hoped to be our salvation can elude us as the ones causing the ruin…



– Briana Joseph

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