Thursday, August 1, 2013

Enemy Lines (Poem 122)

Behind the door, in the dark, 
you lurk, more frightening 
than those childhood monsters 
my mother conquered
with a click of the light switch. 

For decades, you possessed me, 
altered me, held me prisoner, 
brought me to my knees, impoverished 
in so many ways. 

There were days when 
the sun broke through the clouds 
and my doubts cleared 
under the cerulean sky, 
when my escape seemed certain 
and a song of rejoicing 
already softened my lips. 

But, no. You tracked me 
and lay in wait. 
Ambush was only 
a matter of time. 

Why, then, did you let me go 
when I last ran? 
Why was the line you drew 
in the sand 
so shallow and vague? 
At play in the waves, 
I only realized I'd crossed it 
when I looked back 
at the beach 
and saw I was alone. 

How brave I felt! 
How bold and proud! 
Children bounded and splashed 
around me, grinning back 
at my self-satisfied smile. 

If only-- If only!  If only I'd stayed 
closer to shore--
If only the current 
that bore me further out 
had been clear and blue, 
not cold and opaque 
as unfeeling jade. 

Maybe then I might have 
noticed the crescent shadow 
that flickered 
in the depths, 
beneath me. 

Maybe then, I'd still be 
innocent of your insidious 
grasp, ensnaring my ankle 
so delicately, 
a mere tickle. 

Maybe then, I'd have remembered 
to leave the light on 
as I slipped below 
the surface of sleep
into unfathomable dreams.

(c) 2013, by Hannah Six