Early Morning In January

The plastic widget wakes me. Pressed into my flesh, nerves along my arm dead and heavy against the sheet. Asleep in the way the rest of me should be. Instead the rest of me is restless, and churning. Feet, clumsy, hit the laminate like dumbbells. Followed by ankles, calves, thighs, hips, waist, breasts, shoulders, neck, head, arms, wrists, hands, all sleep stricken and wonky. They uncrumple reluctantly, each one an exercise in memory, coordination. Rag doll woman with sand-bag limbs.

In the bathroom I want to lie my head on the edge of the bath, lean it there until the room stops spinning, until my skull lightens to a point where my neck is not creaking. Instead I dig my fingers into the composite. Notice again how it bows out too far. The edges don’t fit flush. There are marks where the veneer is chipping. I fit my body in much the same way. Badly. Not at all. But that’s nothing new. It’s time to check the clock, count the hours left before I need to be somewhere, be someone, work out how to function like a human again.

Night came in too soon,

Day did not have time to clean

all the cobwebs out.


I now remember why I don’t wear that particular pajama top to bed anymore.

Tonight Kim is at the helm over at dVerse Poets Pub, and she wants us to write about what January represents for us. Unfortunately I tend to find myself wading through treacle at this time of year, and the long nights don’t do much to help.

This piece actually fits with the Rag Tag Community’s daily prompt for the day lumber. This was somewhat unintentionally but I hope they don’t mind me adding a ping-back for that prompt as well.

I almost added the following haiku at the end of this piece but decided not to as I felt the other went better with the theme of the Haibun.

Sun comes in new sizes,

fun, mini, small, and absent.

Only out in glass.

In the end I know that the blue patches are only temporary, but at two a.m, with a dead arm, a bruise on my shoulder, and my head spinning, that sort of thinking takes a bit of finding.


  1. I don’t know your history, but you have expertly described my mornings (living with chronic illness). I chuckled at the arm being the only thing asleep, when the rest of the body longs for it. Well written.


    1. Thank you. I’m lucky enough to be pretty much completely healthy. Just a touch of asthma and slightly dodgy knees that have a little more wiggle room in the kneecaps then they should have. I do get blue from time to time, especially in winter. Last night was a particular, blue, cold night.


  2. I love the way you describe the dead arm, Carol, asleep in the way the rest of you should be. I know that restlessness, it’s an old friend of mine. Long nights are a pain and if you get up because you can’t sleep, it’s still pitch black. I love the phrases ‘They uncrumple reluctantly’ and ‘Rag doll woman with sand-bag limbs’, and the haiku is perfect.
    How did you get the bruise on your shoulder?


  3. your haibun flows effortlessly, though the knowledge of pain and discomfort is the main theme, there is strength and determination with a little bit of humour I find so endearing.


  4. I identified with the description of awakening with spinning head and leaden limbs!! I always envied the “morning people” who awoke cheerful and limber. Boo on ’em!


  5. Love the description of getting out of bed…”Rag doll woman with sand-bag limbs”. I can relate to the counting of hours as I rarely ever sleep through the night and find it hard to believe in the morning that I have to “function like a human again”.


  6. Of course there’s a song called Rag Doll, and that’s what I thought of, but keep in mind this is a first impression after waking from a stertorous slumber.

    Little rag doll. Such a pretty face should be dressed in lace.


  7. “an exercise in memory, coordination”
    Oh, when all you have is knowing that you’ve done it before, that your muscles might remember the steps. You’ve captured the leaden morning well.


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