Pavor Nocturnus

This entry is part 31 of 41 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2012


All night, he said, I’d thrashed and snarled
thick bits of indecipherable language through
clenched teeth; and even after he’d shifted
my unconscious, evidently dreaming body
into another position, whatever its source
would start me up again— In the morning,
limbs aching as if from deep muscle strain,
I tell him I’m still trying to remember,
reluctant to name the same old ghosts
that have come here again to haunt me—
First, the boy my mother hired from down
the street to cut the grass and scrub
the floors, and how he slit gladiolus stems
and yellow snapdragon throats in the garden
from boredom, before turning to me to say
he’d show me how to play doctor; then,
not long after, the uncle whose unexpected
fingers broke into my afternoon naps—
How could you remember something like this,
they said to me years later, implying lies,
invention, refusing to believe a three-
year-old could come to such swift understanding
of how something could untether from the body
suspended within a bathroom’s cold white tile,
climb up the wire dangling the lone light bulb,
out the window, past the twisting trees
to where the thin, high notes of some
small bird beat through the air—


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← <em>Canción sin fin</em>If only the wind now dresses the trees →

One Reply to “Pavor Nocturnus”

  1. Luisa, Powerful.
    People don’t want to believe. And it isn’t only children. Any dark, negative event one tells is suspect. People want to believe you got that wrong. It would be too hard otherwise to trust, to believe anyone.

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