In the dead of midnight she startles
awake, her heart flips
like a speed bag banged by a boxer.
She hears the steady saw of crickets,
light drip of water from the faucet.
Her limbs shake, breathing shallow.
She considers the doors.
She remembers securing the bolts
while praising a dark god
for Geoff's atypical departure rather than...
A quick flick, a shadow flashes
There, just out of the corner of her eye,
she sees it again and just like that
the roar of crickets is silenced
accenting the jackhammer of her heart
She doesn't move, won't even blink.
As she recollects Geoff's angry threats
the crickets start up again,
a stocky silhouette rushes her and...
She screams herself awake. Her heart pounds,
sweat trickles down her forehead.
Was the nightmare bleeding into her sleep
or rising through the lip of her days?
She lifts her body to relieve her bladder.
Stressed by the rumble of a car's motor,
she relaxes as it drones into the distance.
She flushes, seeks sanctuary in the whooshing whirl
but worries for the hundredth time why Geoff
didn't keep his promise, considers the trivial
trigger of peanut butter. She lifts her eyes to the mirror,
splashes cool water on her swollen lip
when two red eyes blaze through through her reflection
She violently jolts and ...
Awakens in her bed. Her heart doesn't merely pound
it slams, it jams so hard against her ribcage
she's sure one of the bones will crack.
She works to steady her breathing.
She pinches her arm, she's awake now,
no doubt about it.
She has to pee but doesn't move
wonders where she left her phone
In the dark corridors of her heart
a tiny light burns and she knows
she needs to break it off with Geoff but
she wasn't willing to push him out of her shaky nest.
She wants to believe in miracles
She strives to believe in accidents instead.
"I promise my love, I will never hurt you, never again,
I promise," he said. She reminisces how tenderly
he can hold her in his arms like a well-loved child,
soothing her tears as if he weren't their cause
branding her with the bruising strength of his dreadful love
What does it mean, she wonders
to awaken from one nightmare into another?
Out in the yard a twig snaps.
I can't take this anymore!
Did she say that out loud?
That's it, she decides, jumps out of bed,
rushes for the light switch.
She stretches her hand, lands upon
chilling flesh-like ooze.
And awakens in her bed.
Linked to Poetry Pantry #115 @ Poets United</a>