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Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

The world feels foggy these days

Bleary and blurry and never

enough sleep or clarity

Like a candle with two wicks

I burn from both ends

Lit aflame, I glow in golds and yellows— 

I jolt.

Startled awake

Drool on the cusp of my mouth

My heart seizes in my chest

Stuttering in the beats after two or

Three hours of sleep

There’s a beat inside my head

A pitter-patter against my skull

It pulses and pounds like rain against glass

I can’t sleep.

I’m asleep.

My eyelids feel too heavy

My chest feels too tight

There’s cotton in my head

Here I fall asleep.

Here the candle melts.

Wax pools into oil

The world is lit aflame

Blurry and bleary and

Buried in its afterglow


As a senior who is applying to colleges, academics and extracurriculars have felt incredibly overwhelming lately. I’ve been sleeping late and waking up early— – burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. Some days the lack of sleep is palpable. I can feel it in the heaviness of my eyelids and the thrum of a heartbeat in my skull. I wanted to write a poem that illustrates this.


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