Pickled Insomnia
Paula Ray

She carries me in a jar, lid screwed, holes punched through tin. I breathe. Sloshed from side to side against the glass walls, my head like a bell waiting to be rung. All around a digital blue glow, out there, tapping keys, Morse-code. I can't decipher what they're saying. I only hear bits and pieces of conversations -- I read, never aloud.
My eyes feel sunburned, but I've not seen the sun or moon in days. Which comes first, the dark or light? I'll drown in this puddle where I try to sleep. There are no fish or ice. This is not water filling this jar. This is liquid from my mother's womb. I dream.
I pretend I hear her heartbeat crawling up my sleeve, climbing into my ear. It is a drug that makes my eyes fly open as the jar rolls down the stairs into the basement and under my father's favorite chair. I'm lost beneath the springs, buried in the cushions like my mother's wedding band. A constant circle -- binding, until I become so bony it has nothing left to grasp.