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A Lifelong Insomnia

By Connor Orrico

PROMPT—Who am I today?

I sit in my room

and think

and feel

and am.

In front of me

are study materials

I cannot reach,

a Haitian flag

I have forsaken,

a calendar of racial injustice

I cannot turn, stuck in

endless moments

of a six-year depression,

a lifelong insomnia.

To the right of me

are shelves of literature

("an archive of longings",

I think Susan Sontag said)

I have read towards no

impact on the world:

How To Survive A Plague

by David France;

Getting Wrecked

by Kimberly Sue;

Infections and Inequalities

by Paul Farmer.

Behind me

is my bed,

womb of despair,

tomb of decumbiture.

To the left of me

is the world map,

my college banner,

and encouraging quotes,

parts of global health

pursuits which my paralysis

of will only watches sunder.

Inside me

passion does not pale

but love is not enough.

Purpose became pain;

I am surrounded by ghosts.


Connor Orrico is a medical student and amateur field recordist interested in global health, mental health, and how we make meaning from the stories of person and place we share with each other, themes which are explored through his words in Headline Poetry & Press and his sounds at Bivouac Recording.


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