Mazzy Sleep


I’ll be honest with you
I remember what I choose to
my mind is a circle, and the inside of the circle
is my memory
but I don’t always herd the same sheep

People appear more like articles, items,
than acute consciousnesses
you said the basement was haunted
which I saw as a dare; you had reason
I had youth

They use that phrase, “Death’s warm embrace”
in other words: it’s a kiss, a shock, a light, not a darkness
the aftereffect of someone else,
not their action but their existence, the shadow
of the doubt cast over you

smoke lacing the trees, either a chimney
or a wildfire, or both—something domestic, or feral,
or both

The summit of your own thought
was less of a peak and more of an end
your prime was less of a prime and more
of a stopping point, a minimum
which you respected with too much raw will

And you would always avoid the careful shadow,
even when it was no longer a shadow,
but a light

Your mind was corrugated with possibility
you couldn’t focus, you couldn’t
see the task, let alone complete it

Sticky with memory, intoxicated
with the concept of the present,
the future, the past—or, should I say,
the concept of the past being left behind

The past being over with,
a thing already said,
a thing already done,
a sheep already herded, so who cares
if it’s the wrong one?

Mazzy Sleep

Mazzy Sleep is an 11-year-old from Toronto, Canada. She has written over a thousand
poems and short stories, as well as two novels and two feature screenplays. Her work
has been published or is forthcoming in Blackbird, The Margins (Asian American
Writers’ Workshop), The Minnesota Review, Rattle, Barren Magazine, Geist, Maudlin
House, and elsewhere. Mazzy was commissioned by the Lunar Codex project to write
a poem that will be launched to the moon. Her poem “Heart Medicine” has been
named a Notable Poem in the Best Canadian Poetry 2024 anthology.