A split-second before sleep
I dive a death plunge,
instantly jolted awake
by a red-alert whole-body jerk.

Doctors call it myoclonic reflex.
The brain's neural net goes slack,
slips the clutch on fibers and tissue,
and panic-stricken muscles grab for it.

Not fatal, though it feels like stepping off
a ledge               that isn't there.
After this moment when I lose my mind,
I am reminded

that what holds us together
when we are sleeping safely in our beds
is also what drops us through that tiny gap
between the subway car and platform ledge.

Appeared in The Mayo Review.