Too Tired (44)

I have a second cup of green tea and toasted rice steeping beside the open kitchen window. After I drank the first cup I found myself nodding off reading. I’m so exhausted I almost can’t function, can’t feel quite like myself, a dull blankness lying over me in layers. How can I let myself become so depleted for work? Can’t I learn to keep better boundaries, check in less often, know when to go to sleep? But when I’m caught up in it, the train holds me rushing down the tracks, the whoosh of air loud in my ears. It doesn’t feel like I have a choice. It feels like all I can do is keep moving through it, swaying car to swaying car. Answer the next question, grade the next submission, remember to cook dinner, feed the cats, field the next three questions waiting after I eat. I call it a night, too tired to wash the dishes waiting in the kitchen sink. While I am in it, the pace sustains me. I wake up early after little sleep, answer more questions from bed. But once the pressure slackens, the train slowing on the tracks, the exhaustion weighs me down, presses me against the earth. Silly mortal. Older mortal now, too. Yesterday afternoon I almost couldn’t stand. Today I think I could fall asleep while I write, but I keep the pen moving across the page. I am in the shade under the umbrella. A house finch calls from the neighbor’s tree. I’d been so eager for this lightening of my load. But I’m too tired to feel it, pressed down as I am by exhaustion, this body heavy like stone. Instead I look forward to being replenished, to feeling lighter, my body not dead weight I wrestle to keep upright, but easy companion, heart lifting again as hearts are meant to do.

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