Monster Under the Bed

Momma, the walls breathe at night and you don’t believe me. You and dad check every corner of my enormous room. You open the closet and see darkness. You look under the bed as it clings to my mattress like moss in a bad, wet cave. You look in all the wrong places. And while you do that you don’t even see the stars you painted on my walls turn into eyes slowly as night fills up the world. Your dragon will protect you, you say. His name is Drelion, I tell you as you wrap him around my neck like a scarf. And then you leave and shut off my light. That’s when the monster comes out. It drops down from the bottom of my mattress. It crawls out from underneath. When it hits the floor it’s like my room has a heartbeat. Then it stands at the edge of my bed. I don’t look. I keep my eyes closed, to make sure they don’t fly out of my skull.

. . .

The monster is quiet. I don’t hear it move but it always ends up right in front of my face, so close that if I opened my eyes they would dry out from his stinking breath. The monster is quiet. I listen to its breath and hear its soft voice. Its starving voice. I’ve heard that voice before. That’s why it’s so scary. The voice is thick like a slow dying tortoise but light like a feather. So light my eyelashes would blow it away as they opened. The monster smells like sour bread and strawberries, a bad smell and a nice smell. A smell that would make dad cry. I think that’s why dad pretends there is no monster because he’s embarrassed to be afraid. I wish Dad would save me but he never does. 

. . .

The monster waits. I don’t know what it waits for or what it wants for. It never touches me, never puts its teeth around my head. Sometimes I pretend it’s ripping one of my eyes out and my eye turns into a blue jay. Sometimes I think it will break my fingers off and eat them like worms, or french fries. I really think it wants to talk to me but I don’t know what it will say. Maybe it will sing me a song. Maybe it will tell me why dad is so sad. Maybe it will tell me about all its bad dreams. But I get so tired from keeping my eyes shut tight that I fall asleep before it can say anything. And when it is morning, I know it’s the monster’s turn to hide from me. 

. .

you talk in your sleep. fight, even. some sleeping dog kicking at air.

the gaps of silence are where i live, then.

when the kick to end all kicks

causes flash of eyelid collision before the breath

the cerebral cortex cerberus vanishes 

into the orange kitchen light strip below your door

then, there i am.

the half caved limbo between the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling and the endless vortex beyond it

draw near, child. your heartbeat sounds like boiling water.

you can’t remember. you can’t remember any of it.

you know the answers of my existence and you locked it away,

you’re imagining my face, and you’re right. the stories were all right in their own way. 

but none of them mentioned how i exist for you.

Draw Near.

is it my heartbeat or yours? is it my fear,

or yours?

i hope you’re afraid. and that you still fear death.

that the hope hasn’t left you.

that mind-made castles and creatures protect you from me.

you think this is scary?

imaginary creatures in crevices collected

like stuffed animal items in a kids shopping section

you think this is scary?

curse words encrusted in the cracks of your mothers favorite plate

an accident, an honest one

you think this is scary,

but in my world we have colder commonalities.

drelion, your great and mighty dragon is loved as long as he is known.

hold him tight.

your under-eyes will slowly betray you and the light in the back of your sockets will dim.

you think paralysis is the worst of it

you think you know


you haven’t even experienced its true form.

your father fears the foundational morals of the stories that created me.

those stories, fables fighting for their place on withering page-staples

loved as long as they’re known.

a hyphenate of maturity.

i smell your fear and there’s no way to remove it.

draw near, child,

 listen to the words in your head

the six-foot-buried memories encapsulated by a halo of fantasy

i exist to warn you.