Valerie Wetlaufer

When my eyes open there is too much light 

Even this early in the morning.

As I dress, I dread.

My labor feels inconsequential.

The only dream left: to achieve something beyond

subsistence. Repetitive motions take their toll.

I feel bad about feeling bad.

This is how capitalism feels.

Every task is flattened to the same degree

of overwhelming difficulty.

There is no distinction for me anymore

between being rested or not1, there is just

too much light: in the morning; in the grocery aisles;

in the classroom. Florescent onslaught.

All outward signs suggest I should be happy2.


1 These two sentences paraphrased from Depression: A Public Feeling by Ann Cvetkovich

2 Ibid.



There was too much light


after the surgery

I was open and rare

then suddenly chastened

light in my eyes

time to wake up

then lie there alone

for hours

flesh split

and suffering


but not time yet

to drink.


Valerie Wetlaufer