Dan Kang

The Sleeper

There’s a grandma to the right of my own
Also lies in bed all day
Been there for three years now
She sleeps

I come in early afternoon
She is sleeping
I leave in the evening
She is sleeping

Never have I seen her open her eyes
Never have I heard her speak
She is trapped inside her body
Eternal slumber

Alive but not living
She exists without purpose
What difference does it make to be alive or dead?
What right do I have to say that?

Her daughter visits twice or thrice a week
A middle aged lady who speaks in semi-broken English
She has three children, a son who’s a sophomore at UCI
Her own life to live

A special assistant comes daily to feed the sleeper
Shoving spoonfuls of mush into her mouth
Constantly yelling “Mommy! Mommy!”
It annoys the hell out of me

Why does the feeder speak to the sleeper?
The sleeper cannot hear her
Much less comprehend her Spanish
And yet she talks and talks and talks

The daughter enters during a feeding session
The feeder pries open the eyes of the sleeper
What? Why?
“Esta su hija! Esta su hija!”

Why? Why does she do this?
Does she expect the sleeper to respond?
The feeder continues her yelling
The sleeper continues her slumber

I am trapped
Eternal nightmare