Under the Bed

I wrote this while you were asleep. I wrote this while you were asleep and watching me, baring your teeth like you were the monster and the bed was upside-down. But I knew better. I was the one who folded the sheets, who tucked you in. And so I wrote this, watching your hair fall off of your forehead like a dying old man imagines himself as a child. You were not a child when I wrote this. You were the monster, clawing the bed with dangling arms above the cliff, swinging and struggling to take hold.

One heeled boot, a kick from a triumphant hero, and you would be plummeting down, dead. The bed would be rightside-up, if it were upside-down in the first place. But I folded the sheets; I knew. I wrote this about you because I knew you would change in the morning, and I was afraid. I’m afraid of you, not when you’re a monster, but when you’re a human. You’re a child; you could die, boy, you could die. You were a monster that night, claws and teeth and watchful, closed eyes. I could feel the yellow slits staring at me in the dark, but when I turned to address you it was only a car going past your face. It was so loud I swear it was in the room with us. I wrote about that here: see? I did that. I did. I didn’t want you to be a child, so I saw you as a monster. You wreck things, you are menacing in sleep, yes. A monster is fearsome but unafraid; a monster does not die easily. But you do not match up. You know how to love. You love and you make things better, make things up. You try your hardest and you want to live like the rest of us. Whenever you walk past the street, holding my hand like a package, I think: you could die, boy, you could die. You don’t, but one day you could. One day you will. I wrote this while you were asleep, but I’ll never let you read it. I watched you and I thought you were a monster, I hoped you were. But you were not a monster. You were only a child.


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