you are 6 years old,
mother’s warm embrace shielding
you from all the ugly monsters that
lurk under your bed. her warm breath,
a ghost of a kiss on your forehead
as she tucks you in.
you are 12 years old,
mother doesn’t tuck you in
because you are old enough,
you don’t have nightmares and
you’re not living in fairy tale land anymore;
this is real life.
the monsters under your bed
begin to show themselves at night,
the feeling of one wrapping it’s hands
around you in bed, the other has a hand wrapped around your neck
whispering in your ear that there’s no where to go.
father tells you to grow up—
there are no monsters under your bed.
you want to tell them that anxiety
is a monster sleeping with you
at night. the ghosts of bitter melancholy
are real and they appear with
a wave over your soul telling you to
die. die. die.
you are 16 years old and you
wonder how it all went down to
quicksand so fast. your parents wonder
if they ever birthed you; your sanity
threatens to elude you when
you try to explain. at least,
there are no monsters
under your bed anymore—
the monsters live in you.
how do we get rid of the monsters
of our childhood without
the memory of their ugly faces
resurfacing anytime we try
to be happy?