How to Fall Asleep and Never Wake Up
Daryl Sznyter

The year they discovered my best friend, twenty years old and silent under the heap of her wrecked car, I learned one can sleep forever and never wake up.

That year, her sister, only seventeen, ate magic mushrooms and lost her mind and her brother, fourteen, started running and stopped eating and I didn’t eat magic mushrooms but lost my mind anyway as everyone watched my skin, too white to be real, disintegrate before their eyes.

That year I flew to Colorado to see an urn surrounded by pointe shoes. It reminded me more of a wastebasket than the last I would see of the only person I actually spoke to. The cassette that held my entire life was broken. No – not broken – lost. Her sister ran naked through the street a few days later after ingesting a certain fungus at her school’s homecoming dance. Most say it was the drugs. Maybe, I said. But I knew exactly what it was. Her brother started walking with his feet turned out, a remnant of his ballerina sister instilled in him. I ripped the flesh from my arms, hoping to find her somewhere
underneath my fingernails until a doctor gave me medicine and I stopped looking under my skin and started playing the game of how long can I sleep before I wake up.

Her sister ended up in an asylum where they gave her the same medicine they gave me. They say she’s doing better, but what would they say about me? Her brother keeps amassing cross country trophies, winning solely because he imagines running to her. I continue to play the sleeping game, each nap longer than the last, but I always wake up even though I don’t always know where I am.


Daryl Sznyter received her MFA in poetry from The New School and a BA in Creative Writing from Pepperdine University. Her poem “The Weave” was recently been published in the Best American Poetry Blog.

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