The Monsters Under My Bed – Christine E. Ray

some nights
when I am an insomniac
I lay on the floor
and hang out with the monsters
under my bed
I finally introduced myself
after I tired of them
poking me in the middle of the night
mustered my courage
took a peak

they are quite the motley crew

Vulnerability resembles a giant porcupine
all razor sharp quills
shy gaze
caramel voice
she looks lovely
but it’s hard to get close enough
to really tell

Rage looks normal enough
as far as monsters go
but when he gets angry
which is often
his skin gets scaly
his eyes turn red
smoke starts to drift out
from his ears and nostrils
I find myself quite attracted to Rage
I want to stroke his reptilian skin
sit close to his heat
inhale his smoke
until my eyes burn red too

Invisibility is pretty quiet
mute actually
not so much invisible
as completely nondescript
I can never remember exactly what
Invisibility looks like
no matter how hard I try to look directly
my eyes slide right off
every time I visit Invisibility
it is like meeting for the first time

Memory resembles a ball of tightly wound yarn
pieces of barbed wire and broken glass
protruding out
mixed in with the occasional flower
and seaside picnic
Memory’s voice sounds like children laughing
Melissa Etheridge played in the dark
silent screams
heaving sobs
hanging out with Memory can be exhausting

Detachment does most of the talking
she wears a sharp suit
pantyhose
sensible pumps
tortoise shell glasses
she carries a laser pointer
used to illustrate her PowerPoints
when I mention that I expected the monsters under my bed to be NightmareFearDeath
she shakes her head impatiently and tells me that those are the monsters that haunt other people
the ones who only have imagination to rely on
those of us who have looked into the void
seen monsters wearing human faces
are a different story entirely

Hope looks like a sorority girl
on her way to her fifth college reunion
perfect make-up
well-coiffed
just the right amount of accessories
dressed all in pink
tan
well-rested
always smiling
she could be squirting shoppers with perfume at Macy’s
she has a bright, breathy voice
always seems to be selling something
like a Club Med vacation in paradise
I don’t trust her
not one little bit

Little Me is the smallest
she likes to climb on my lap
hold both my cheeks in her cherub hands
while looking deeply into my eyes
hers are large
ancient
sad
weary
as though she has seen too much
half the time I want to turn away
from those knowing eyes
at others I want to hold her
comfort her
she mostly hums
and sighs
but once she looked at me
and said in her little girl voice
‘it wasn’t your fault.  it was never your fault. . .
it was hard to get back to sleep that night

I mused out loud one night as I grew drowsy
on the carpet
that I wondered which monster under my bed
was scariest
it was suddenly silent
I realized that they were all staring at me
some shocked
some concerned
Detachment pointed her laser pointer directly at my chest
you, of course
the scariest monster under the bed 
is the one you fear you will become

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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