Swimming At 1:03 am

Alisha Davenport

I can’t escape the stains on my eyelids

when I close them for sleep,

can’t run from the memories

that play on repeat

in my brain at 1 am

when the shadows start to creep,

when the night is dark and my body is awake,

I can’t run away.


and I can’t shake the feeling

in my bones at 1 am,

so instead of sleeping

I call the darkness my friend,

staring at my anaemic shadow

on a wall that is not mine,

silly sketches crouched in shadow 

to try to bide my time,

or portraits of the girl 

who wearily sighs in the mirror.


if only I could weave my insomnia 

into a cocoon in which I’d lay,

then my head would stop compressing, 

circling tight around my brain,

and my body would stop aching

in ways I can’t explain,

if only stretched-out pain-filled nights 

would turn into midnight-dream adventures 

where the only pain I’d feel would be 

the sting of my 6 am alarm.


I find defeat on the bathroom floor,

I’m falling into a haze.

but still my eyes won’t close

I become obsessed with the way

these thoughts dance through my head,

they flicker and fade.

I re-read the words that stumble

across the journal page

that a ghost of me wrote 

mere months ago 

… how things change.


but a soft surrender 

doesn’t come without a fight,

regardless, I can’t sleep

I can’t sleep,

I can’t sleep. 

this is every night, 

every week, every December.

I keep longing for a time that was never mine,

unlike something you can keep

in your pocket like a photograph,

that fades with the tides

of water circling through the washing machine.

Alisha is in her first year studying Visual Arts at QUT. She is a lover of any type of artistic endeavour, but words and poetry have always been her first port of call for self-expression. She tends to explore themes of identity, memory and the human condition through her work.