stressed cotton gripped,

lithograph shapes move

incoherent blemishes

caught by tired eye,

already a haven

checked by those who love,

yet still cold

comes to linger as an

unwelcome friend,

that closet door moves

with slow intent,

tomorrow a long voyage away

and the captain is

losing the wheel,

wanting to send up flares

light kerosene lamps,

to see

bedroom ocean

hindered by furry forms

that sulk in masses,

stories stringed words

hung across the mind

cranial denial,

cotton scrapes

a loose floorboard resonates

without help

from human form,

as captain he needs a crew,

crew of rag and plastic

to his call they rally

corners become embattled

cotton pushed aside,

sails on pine vessel,

beneath the night

a warrior born

clouds of gods look down,

moon casts a charming glow,

a battle cry

loud inside a voice parents

can never here,

on deck face splashed

by waves of memory,

wheel in his grasp

volley and surge

crackled into the night

with electric interference,

lips once moist

with mothers milk

now bloodied call proud,

monsters fled

lines defiled and beaten

each rushing over the fallen,

he would not be wounded

he would not falter,

time a soft blanket

on which he tiredly fell

sleep devoured

and all this would be

a satisfying memory by morning,

but not the claw embedded

in bedroom wall


  1. Lila says:

    I think I just went into a the stormy seas and came back with a kerosene lamp.
    Hectic emotions.

  2. Linda Rogers says:

    Brilliantly frightening. Makes me think of those monsters in my bedroom as a kid. They came in all forms.

  3. kkkkaty says:

    Eek..freaky ending!

  4. Claw – 1st time reader – some lines just pop and the one that did for me (there were several) but I loved cranial denial – the last 2 obviously clinched it all – Well done and thank you.

  5. rosross says:

    Well constructed. and yes, all dreams and nightmares have an element of real – often more than we are prepared to admit or know.

  6. Love your title, drew me in right away!

  7. Grace says:

    The ending was very good, with the claw embedded in the wall ~ Sleep devoured the sleeper ~

    Good one ~

  8. heidi says:

    As captain he needs a crew, crew of rag and plastic. This line sent me back to when I was little and would line my stuffed animals around me in bed to help me fight off any monsters. effective and well written.

  9. brian miller says:

    ha great closing image….the claw in the wall…
    that evidence that maybe our nightmares
    are more real than we think…smiles.

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