There are 8 written responses to this assignment.
Wanting, vacant eyes stare my way
from a bowl on the dining hall table.
I look away.
I imagine they don’t exist.
The door, too far to make a getaway.
Elders in green loom over
Can I fold myself into invisibility?
Purple monsters still see me.
The green ones
tire of waiting.
“Eat your B vegetables, you must eat B”
I succumb, I lift them close.
I smell earthy fumes.
Purple monsters are in me,
Somehow I am out in the bushes.
And all else
from my body.
When I was six, I feared the guns at Fort Bragg.
The sky would light up pink
The rumble would shake my house
If it all came down
Was it WWIII?
Or Jesus’s second coming?
Either way, it was not good news to me.
As a child especially, I feared this monster
who lived in the lake by my house.
He would sneak up on the banks while we slept
and one time he cut up my binoculars (in my dreams).
But what, if monsters are not real, did I fear?
I was afraid of the way that the dark swallowed all,
and left us surrounded.
When you watched the shadows, they crept.
The dark twisted shapes and caused scratching on your window.
You can not hide from the dark,
you close your eyes and it is there.
It waits under the bed and in the corners–there’s no escape
Even still ,in the dark I can feel my breath catch, and my heart pump furiously
I’ll hear footsteps or voices and nothing will be there when I turn.
I think I am still afraid of the dark.
They sat in the top of my closet,
ever present, always watching over,
ready to mute me at any moment.
Fearing my dream would come true,
I closed the door; I could still speak
a barely audible protective incantation.
I could feel them peering at me
from behind that flimsy barrier.
I cowered as I tried to sleep.
Made by loving hands,
Why should they take my voice?
I never played with those dolls.
Then, I shivered in the dark
but not in the closets where i hid
Then I lay with eyes wide
watching the shadows
listening for creak of board
Listen hard as I might;
all I heard was the clock tick
tock tick tock tick
The quiet world grew silent, still.
My vigilance, my act of will
would soon succumb to weariness
A car would stop, a door would squeak
I, halfway asleep
So often missed the third stair creak
A blinding light, a shouted word
I’d start awake with a surge of fear
too late to do more than squint, cringe
and listen to the grim voice speak
of discipline, of morals, pain;
confirming again my childhood dread:
not all the monsters are under the bed.
Always afeared of Pumpkins,
Scraped and scooped.
He cleaned and carved,
At Dad’s request,
To make the
Until that fateful 31st,
He felt a hand take hold,
And in was hauled.
And found his long lost mom.
the swamp at night
with owl eyes shining in the moonlight
and how quiet it would be for me to walk home
jumping bog to bog
waiting for the hands to reach up and drag me down.
ATTACK OF THE CAVE CRICKETS
When I was a child
I was afraid of the steps
when I was sent down
where the canning was kept.
I hated the smell
of damp cement,
of crocked up cabbage’s
Rows of tomatoes
with their glassy stares
dared me to shift aside the pears
to search for applesauce
or whatever I’d been asked
to fetch by Mom.
They knew that deep
in the darkest shelves
cave crickets creeped
and waited and talked
I’d hear them scurry,
I’d hear them scrape
and then they’d JUMP
as I made my escape.
Not even safe at the top of the stairs,
I’d scream and scream while Mom
calmly picked crickets
out of my hair.