Emma Lee
She Never Thought About Sleep Before

It was just something that happened
after a long shift, serving with a smile,
dash back to a studio apartment,
a rushed microwave dinner, wash off
make-up and the difficult customer,
and fall into bed. Blank until morning.
Repeat. Until commuters were no
longer customers, her job went,
the landlord suggested an alternative
way to pay her rent so she packed
her life into a rucksack and left.
Closed businesses meant no waste
cardboard to make a base to sleep on,
no leftovers for people like her.
Sleep was dozing, jerking awake,
dozing. One eye open for danger.
Deserted streets left her invisible.
Until a charity worker found her.
Wary but defenceless, she followed
him to a hostel, a shower, a bed
and fifteen hours straight sleep.