Some nightmares are real

How quiet are the footsteps
creeping into my room
How gentle the hands
that lift me from my bed
How soft the voices
that hush my frightened cries
How soothing the motion of the car
taking me far from home

So cold the night
so pale the moonlight
on my bare skin
so brutal the torture
inflicted on my tiny body
shattering my mind
into a thousand pieces

How gentle the hands
that wash away the blood
and dress me in my nightgown
How welcome the sleep
given in a glass of bitter potion
I wake alone in my bed
cold and afraid
Go back to sleep little one
it was just a nightmare.

Five

What do you do
when you are five years old
and your mother
shuts you away
because she can’t bear to look at you?
In your short life
she has given
no love or cuddles,
only bewildering rage and anger
no matter how hard you try to be good
it is never good enough.
Your body is small,
next to you she is very big
and when her face is in your face
shouting at you
and her hands are on your shoulders
shaking you
you fear you might die.
She shouts
I’ll shake the living daylights out of you.
Maybe one day she did
and you are no longer a real person,
only a shadow in the dark.
How do you know
if you are still alive?

The Cross

october-memory

Long ago this cross was my lifeline

I clung to it with my eyes

until it became an imprint

on my soul

and a dark stain on my heart

I spent my life

searching for it

as if to find it again

would be a key

to the past

that may unlock me

and set me free

I look at it now

and my breath catches

and my heart flutters

like a dying bird

and I still cannot fly away

I am as trapped as I was

as a child

tracing every detail in my mind

to blot out

the insanity

of men.

 

To an unknown man

to-an-unknown-man

I never knew you

but I remember your grave,

black and imposing,

reflecting the moon.

I remember the feel of

the slick black marble

cold against my skin.

I remember the bitter smell

of small dead creatures

hidden in crevices

behind broken stone statues

with angel wings.

I died on your grave

and was resurrected

as a small and insignificant ghost,

unseen.

After long years I returned

and looked down on

your benevolent faded grandeur

I wondered if you remembered me,

that small screaming child,

and if it made you sad

that your grave was a place of terror,

and I realised

that I had never had anything to fear

from the dead.

 

Autumn fire

The woods are on fire with autumn.

Each leaf flares bright in the sun,

then waltzes with the winter wind

as it flutters and twirls to it’s earthy grave.

The brief bright firelight

will give way to grey silence

as the wind steals the voice of the trees.

They alone will bear witness

standing in quiet judgement.

They can give no more shelter

in their naked solitude

but they will see all.

 

I will return to this place of lost innocence

in the bleak years ahead

and the trees will bend to whisper in my ear

We saw, you are real.