p o e m  

k  b e r n a r d 


I wait in darkness for the passing of the hours

My shades drawn tight against the prowlers of the night

My closet locking in the bogeyman,

My bedroom door ajar to catch the light.


The stairs they creak, the floorboards groan,

Asleep? In bed yet? Even home?

I lie and, straining, hold my breath,

Not sure if sounds are sounds or phantoms of an earlier death.


Till unaware my lungs betray, expand, contract,

My hyper vigilance denied,

My breathing starts then slows into a semblance of

The peacefulness of sleep which waking life belies.


Till, eyes sewn shut, the dream the dream again, I recognize:

A dome of darkness, ruddy shadows turning black,

And beating, thudding, something unseen terrifies,

Some awful truth bores in behind my back.


Am I alone there in the cavern of my heart,

Its shade unwarmed by the satanic glow

That reaches for the edges of this darkened space then dies,

Snuffed out by blackness as the shadows flow


And ebb, and grow create? Conceal?

The bulging carapace that's black with blood

My life's blood filling, bloating, is it real?

Or am I still alone within my heart,


Safe, though petrified by dreams I yet may see?

(The hall door clicks; a darker shadow stands within.)

The monstrous bug digs in my heart voraciously,

No dream but gnawing at the substance of myself

Within, without, I know it well, once more consuming me.


2001 Kathryn Bernard

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