Red light, stop, sigh of relief,
Heavy head leans back, eyes close,
So tired, barely conscious,
Endless nights of broken sleep.

Beep! Beep!

A voice in my head shouts, ‘Go!’
‘Eyes open!’ My brain tries again.

Beep! Beep!

Angry sound in my ears.
One eye opens, glimpses the green light.

‘Go!’ calls the voice.
Then it turns red again.
Eyes close. Missed it.
Next green light, I’ll go.

© Sarah Lee, 16 January 2016

There were endless days, weeks, and months, when I felt like this at a red traffic light. Sleep deprivation is torturous. Have you ever felt like this? Perhaps you were the driver behind me? I’m sorry. There were days when I thought I shouldn’t be in the car, but I had a child to get to an appointment, as well as a baby to care for – a baby that had kept me awake, every couple of hours, feeding from me. The tiredness was all consuming. I felt like everything was in slow motion and I’d move in a haze. The fog rarely lifted. The temptation to fall into a deep, momentary sleep, was constant. Every red light, or pause in the traffic, was a battle.

Those days are behind me now, but I will never forget them.


Prose for Thought