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Briefly Waking

what is the dream?

By Judey Kalchik Published 17 days ago 2 min read

I opened my eyes to a room that glowed with icy brilliance

As the echo of thunder told my muzzy brain what fractured my sleep.

Heart thumping as the room settled back to ink around the bed.

I was snug and dry, safe from the downpour and flashing lightning on the other side of the window.


The dream hovered around the edges of my brain, details murky,

Waiting for me to sink back into the embrace of the dreamworld.

My eyes were almost closed when a stray thought made itself heard:

"I won't always be alive."


Eyes snapping open, I felt my breath quicken as my heart galloped.

The sheets and blankets that felt welcoming were now a shroud,

My skin prickles, hands iced, mind whirling- I froze

Sweat beading at my hairline, armpits, pooling between my breasts.


I am alive at this moment but one day I will die.

The life I live now, decisions I make, all that is important to me will go on without me.

Decisions not made won't matter. Things undone are of no consequence.

Deadlines. HA!- 'deadlines'. Deadlines don't matter when you are dead.


This isn't helping, this train of thought that is taking me down down down.

I want to leap up and run - run back to the dream-

the safety- the unknowing of before the thunderclap.

But how do I move with this knowledge pinning me to the mattress?


I blink, and the sun warms the kitchen tiles, smooth under my feet as I pour creamer into the cup.

"It rained last night," I state, thoughtfully stirring.

"Really?" he asks. "I didn't hear anything."

"Oh yes. I woke up for a while. But I went back to sleep."


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About the Creator

Judey Kalchik

It's my time to find and use my voice.

Poetry, short stories, memories, and a lot of things I think and wish I'd known a long time ago.

You can also find me on Medium

And please follow me on Threads, too!

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (12)

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  • HandsomelouiiThePoet (Lonzo ward)16 days ago

    This is a powerful and Vivid Piece ❤️💯😉✌️📝❗ Incredible Job, Judey👍

  • ThatWriterWoman16 days ago

    I love this stuff, where the reader creates their own interpretations of the meaning - brilliant!

  • Kristen Balyeat17 days ago

    Oh my, Judey, I love this poem so much! The entire piece was impactful, but this specifically stood out: "I blink, and the sun warms the kitchen tiles, smooth under my feet as I pour creamer into the cup." and "'It rained last night,' I state, thoughtfully stirring." The appreciation that happens for the little things, the noticing that happens, the thoughtfulness... these are the treasures we overlook when we are "asleep". We were on vacation in Hawaii in January of 2018, during the accidental ballistic missile alert. "This is not a drill. Seek immediate shelter." I'm currently writing a little piece on it. It was the most interesting 38 minutes of my life and gave me a different perspective on living. The next morning we were sitting on the beach at sunrise and my thought was exactly what you so beautifully stated above: "All that is important will go on without me." If I were not here, the sun would still be rising, the waves still crashing. "Memento Mori" keeps me living. I also love the quote: “We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” -Confucius I am awake. Really beautiful and brilliant piece, Judey! Thank you for writing!

  • Mariann Carroll17 days ago

    That was scary thoughts in your poem. Lucid dreaming . It’s really hard to go back to sleep with thoughts like that.

  • In "Beasley Street" Dr John Cooper Clarke describes sleep as a "sneak preview of death". This is an excellent poem and my last microfiction was about a dream

  • Matthew Mccahey17 days ago

    Im awake but im tired and want to go back to sleep. But i know the nightmares wait for me, lurking beneath the water. Very good way of describing the night terrors waking up sweating and all that.

  • This is great and very descriptive! Betting it gets top story. Love the descriptions. And I’m never sure if I’m awake or asleep.

  • Dana Crandell17 days ago

    You described the moment perfectly, not that I'm surprised. On the edge of waking, wondering which part of the experience is real. It tends to stick with me for at least the day. Well done!

  • I used to be terrified of death when I was a child. Later, filled with faith, I trusted in God to keep me safe. For a while now, realizing how faith provides metaphors for what we don't know, I finding myself trusting both in God & in the Universe. And if all we have of eternity is but the small infinites of our lives as opined in "The Fault in Our Stars", I can think of no more peaceful rest than to evanesce, fading away into nothing.

  • J. S. Wade17 days ago

    A glimpse into the heavens? Wonderfully written and expressed Judey.

  • Beautifully written and you are amazing at building tension-I literally jumped when I got to the 'thunderclap. I really loved the nonchalant tone of the conversation at the end. So much of what we think just goes unspoken. For now I am in the half light between sleep and awake. Living on auto pilot looking for signs of life 🤍 Thank you for writing and sharing!

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