Insomnia and Desire

By Arden Sawyer

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You stay in bed for sixteen hours. When you wake up it is night, and you notice a strange sensation in your upper lip. Prickle prickle push. You examine the skin of your upper lip in a mirror and discover the bristle-like beginnings of three white hairs on each side of your philtrum. The hairs are unusually stiff and sleek. You continue over the next few days to watch the hairs grow progressively longer at night, then recede entirely in the daytime, and to notice other changes. Your incisors become pointy. The pupils in your eyes change shape. By the 5th day your bones are dislocating themselves, popping out of sockets from shrinking suddenly, head hair receding into your scalp and everywhere else hair sprouting like grass. By the 7th day your nightly transformations have you turned into an ordinary stripped grey domestic cat, indistinguishable from any natural-born full-time 24-hour cat. Since the transformations only take place when your lover is asleep, these changes in you have not yet been noticed. You exit the bedroom through the window, across the porch roof, down the tree, and away. You go out every night and watch scenes play out in the lighted windows of houses. You walk through the backyards of kind strangers and up to the back stoops and accept food that they offer. The strangers pet you and say “Hello little cat, what are you hungry for?”

– Arden Sawyer