Phases

When Paul was a baby
he cried, Mother! Mother! Mother!
only when she slept
under a night
made darker than usual
by a new moon—
which is when she slept
the deepest sleep.

On those nights
I became mother
crawling from under
my own bedsheets
to deal with
whatever made him
cry out
and hoped
it was not
the monster
I placed under his bed
three months before.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Momentary

The monsters that roam your unconscious
were once real in the guise of friends or family.

You may have an anxiety closet
or fear the underside of your bed,

but that is the mind’s manifestation
of buried images from silent era films.

Silence from before your vocabulary developed
or grew large enough to express something insidious

like the misplaced hand that steals the spine
or a common action diverted into the perverse.

Your fluttering eyelids over our coffee cup conversation
confirms emotional bruises and illicit fingerprints.

The secrets you keep are secret only in detail.
Violence without definition, without time stamp or witness.

As your body twists muscles in a squirm
your secrets wring an old blackened torment outward.

I recognize your avoidance techniques.
I realize your emotional heart stopped and blood turned cold.

Though it is plain your ears are not deaf,
my It’s over and Let it go fail to vibrate the ear drum,

to penetrate deep to the living memory
that retains the trespass as clear and present danger.

A moment of relief crosses your eyes
as we switch our talk to the playoffs

and other subjects that leave tears
far from the corners of your eyes.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Association

Whoosh.
The paper goes up in flames.

Pinwheels.
Noisy electric power generates bird-genocide.

Ballpark.
Let’s play two in air-quotes.

Calling.
Lovers say goodbye.

Grotesque.
Our whiteness fails the purity test.

Magic.
All the petty midnight monsters find an R.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney