Levels of insanity

Last night I dreamed I was on a yacht

its cabin extended as I explored it, finding
many rooms
each inviting me to experience a different kind of madness

in the generous bathroom I curled up, screaming
while in a small boxroom I lay flat and silent on the floor
listening to the demon that shrieked inside my head
an open living area gave me room to run in circles
muttering, feeling my face distort and swell

I vacuumed the floor, thinking
this action would prove my sanity

once the detritus had been sucked away
I turned my attention to a brown door with a lift-up latch
which hadn’t been there before

a warning lifted the hairs on my skin
so lightly, so almost imperceptbly
that I was able to pretend
it was my imagination
allowing me to pass through

scarlet-carpeted stairs
led down to a sudden drop, and in a red room below me
strange machines moved with no purpose
no end game

I spotted an exit, beyond which
a woman struggled with an old-fashioned pram
bumping it down a lower staircase; the only way out
perhaps to escape the bedlam of this floor
or else to descend into yet more
unreachable madness

I turned away and retraced my steps
not ready to taste that level of insanity

fluff and grit was strewn
across the floor I had recently cleaned
reminding me that while everything changes
sometimes it follows old patterns

I sat on a bed
thinking to rock myself back to health

©Jane Paterson Basil


7 thoughts on “Levels of insanity

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