cobwebs under my bed.
I must apologize to the monster,
that stayed under my bed as I slept.
It watched as I tossed and turned,
and fell silent when I wept.
I suppose we all realized the same thing,
looking back at our empty beds.
The monster wasn't the enemy after all,
not the one that pulled at loose threads.
I mean, what makes a monster a monster?
Is it a sinister smile, gleaming in the dark?
I think our fears create our monsters,
and we burn faces onto them, an unjust mark.
When I was 5, I was scared of the sea,
but I was ready to jump and even fail.
Now I'm 19, I am scared to jump and fail,
but into the sea, no turning back, I'll open my sail.
You think my monster heard my prayers?
and then carefully gave me something to fear,
easy enough to overcome in time,
so that my bravery might appear.
So that perhaps in the many years ahead,
bravery might not be such a foreign tool,
and that when the real monsters appear,
I am firmly equipped for the duel.
All the fragile, crumbling fairytales told us,
that the monster came to take my soul.
Why is the monster there, they cried?
Is it here to devour our dreams whole?
I suddenly begin to wonder the truth,
as I heard the lock fight against the key,
or was it because there are dangers in this world,
and the monster was only trying to protect me?
Monsters That Teach
Dear Dust Bunny Monster,
Every time the AC kicks on, you run for your fuzzy little life under my bed. I see you roll and drift and fraternize with the other bunnies, mingling your innards and outards, creating bigger, more menacing ones. Fuzz happens.
You are the tumbleweed of urbia and suburbia. You go where the wind takes you--my vents blow you under me. You fear the vacuum that will send you to Limbo, like all the unbaptized babies.
Your anatomy is a time capsule, of insect parts of small beings who lived entire insect lives; of droppings from mice and bugs and god-knows-what else that report you are what you ate, yestereday; of lint from navel and opposing cheeks; crumbs passed over by others; of dead skin and DNA from a hundred hundred species.
You don't scare me because you're gross, disgusting, or even filthy. You scare me because one day, in the end, you and I shall finally meet.
Dear Monster Matt,
I always was deathly afraid of you. I'm old enough now, to know you no longer reside under my bed.
But I remember the days, checking under the bed, before crawling under my covers. The shivers that would crawl through my body as the lights shut off. The tears that would collect in my eyes when I heard a creak and saw a shadow. The fear that as soon as I drifted to sleep, you would grab me and pull me away.
Mom and Dad would scold me if I were jittery of the monster under my bed. They always told me to go to sleep. There was no such thing. They tucked me in, kissed my nose, and shut off the lights.
The drunken fun I heard outside my door added to my fear. The fear the monster would take me and tear me apart while I was missing out. Some days I wished it were true, so my parents would believe me. If they saw me torn to shreds by a monster in the morning, surely they would have believed me.
Now, I understand you no longer live under my bed. I grew out of the fear of monsters under my bed. But some days, I still have a longing dread inside. That maybe, there is a monster still there. Perhaps it's not you. Perhaps it's not quite under my bed.
Perhaps, it's a monster of my past. That keeps bringing up dreaded memories.
I would much rather deal with you, Monster Matt, under my bed. Then the monsters that haunt my dreams.
A letter to Sambuca
I am writing you this letter, hoping you survived. writing this is hard for me, but it is not as hard as all the pain you must have felt.
i feel guilty, and if it helps, have been feeling guilty all my life for what i've done.
you were not a friend, Sambuca and I started out fearing you. and you know this. you must have even enjoyed it. but over time , we came to find a way to coexist. a way to equalize both our strengths, and weaknesses, threats and counter threats. our detant, was not to be for long, i am afraid, as you know all too well.
what I did was inexcusable,
there was trust between us, Sambuca, and it is that, and its betrayal, which I saw through your disbelieving eyes, at that moment so long ago, as they glared in surprise and shock, and pain, which burn in my mind, as they always burned under the bed.
those five yellow eyes of yours, so haunting as they were, haunt me still, Sambuca.
Perhaps I betrayed myself as much as I betrayed you. sure, there was no torment, like you had undoubtedly been feeling all these years, yet in my hearts, Sambuca, i feel your pain every day of my life. and what's more, to my horror I know today, that as I was preparing for your downfall, I was aware that the knife would inevitably cut both ways, sending both of us to suffer.
Know, Sambuca, that I would have much deserve it, if things were otherwise, and it would be you living a life of regret, and me being the prodded beast, to be tortured for the amusement of Those Cruel things.
But it is not so, and I made my sad choice, my snare, and trap. I sold you and you did not sell me, Sambuca.
I imagine, dear Sambuca, and hope that your period of serving as a plaything, as a trifling object, who's only worth is measured by its shreiks and by its agonized survival, had also moments of triumph. that you stood firm and succeeded. I hope you survived, dear Sambuca, longer than the pain , survived with some measure of victory in those abomitable games of them.
but I know that eventually , you didn't.
no one could.
which is the only reason, again, to my shame, that I allow myself to write this.
forgive me, where ever you are,
Sambuca, forgive me.
Ringing Telephones, Jellyfish, Damaged Souls, and a Virgo Boyfriend
Look at the Monsters.
Look at me.
I imagine that they are
Because I will Answer them.
Or Step on them.
Or Love them.
Or Believe in them.
There are a whole slew of
that might happen.
Might knock them out of
It’s been almost 15 years now. I am 26, I own my own apartment, and I have a child of my own on the way. I rarely pay you any mind, but I passed by the cemetery the other day, and I couldn’t help but wonder. I realized that I have no earthly idea where you are, or what you have been doing… one can only hope you haven’t found another little girl to scar.
You will be unhappy to hear that the lines on my collarbone and chest have faded, and I can wear a tank-top without getting stared at. I know you wanted me to remember you—remember the pain and the torture you put me through every time I looked in the mirror, but time really does heal all wounds.
I never think about you. I never think about your hands encapsulating my throat. I never think about the cool touch of that butcher’s knife as you drew it over my skin. I never think about how you bound me to the top bunk with your sheets, and how they dug into my skin when I writhed and screamed as I listened to you choke the life out of my mom and dad.
I don’t think about you. I just wanted you to know that my baby girl will never have a sister.
Because you were the monster under my bed.
Dear Little Monster,
I never wanted you in my room, let alone under my bed. Yet here you are terrorizing me at night just like you do during the daytime. At night I think about what would happen if my bed collapsed and crushed you. Then I fear you will crawl out and end up in my bed with your little tiny arms wrapped so tightly around me I can’t move.
You dirty little monster, every move you make I feel, every sound you make I hear it. Why can’t you just stop, go back to where you were before.
I know you’re playing with and touching all my toys and books when I finally go to sleep. You laugh at me, I know it, I hear it.
I wish I could make you go away, forget you’re down there. Move on from all the nights you’ve slept beneath me. How do you get away from a little three-year-old that just won’t leave you alone all day, and you have to sleep above every night.
I was the baby until you came along, now you’re not only the new baby, you’re also the little monster that lives under my bed.
The Headless Man Chased Me
Dear Headless man,
How long had you been hiding beneath my bed? Didn't you know that I was already afraid to fall asleep in the dark? Couldn't you hear me crying out to my daddy almost every night that I couldn't sleep, and he would come to my room and give me half a baby aspirin and tell me it was a 'sleeping pill', smooth my ringlets and say, 'It's all right, Dolly, go to sleep.'?
I am almost 70 years old and I still remember the scream that came from my mouth when I saw you standing next to my bed when I was 6 years old. All I saw was a body with no head and you were standing between me and the door. What were you thinking? I was just a skinny little girl.
My baby sister, had also added her newborn shrieking into the air after I screamed while trying to run through your apparition. My father was the first to arrive and was so convinced by my terror and description of the intruder that he took his flashlight and a pistol from his collection and searched all around the outside of the house to make sure no one was still there. He searched the basement and the garage. But, he believed me.
My mother, on the other hand, was convinced it was my troublesome imagination and made me sit up with her as she fed the baby and settled her back to sleep. I didn't mind, because it kept me from facing my dark bedroom alone for a while. My younger sister doesn't know this, nor does anyone else in the family. From that night on, if I got scared I would crawl into her crib and hang onto her for dear life. As if an infant was going to chase a bogeyman away. Hey, if nothing else I could toss baby turds at you, right?
You terrorized my entire family that night and continued to scare me every time my busy mind could not close down at the end of the day. Over and over again I dreamt that you were chasing me. Maybe you just wanted my head to replace the one you lost. Years went by before I made the connection between you and me.
My mother worked 11-7 shifts at the hospital on weekends. After she left for work my father would visit his workshop in the garage and come back in feeling very good. My older sister avoided him in this state. I didn't know better, I was six years old, and he liked to talk to me when he smelled "funny". I loved Daddy, so any attention from him was welcomed by me. I remember sitting on the sofa while he sat on 'his' chair, sharing memories from WWII. He was in Patton's 3rd Army and arrived in Europe after D-Day, coming in through Italy.
He told me that the Italians welcomed the Americans with open arms and lots of wine. When they saw the name tag on his uniform, 'D'Angelo', they treated his like a king. Already fond of drinking, my father acquired a strong love of anything alcoholic from that point on. He described the journey from Italy to the Ardennes forest, where his unit was stalled out by the German counter attack.
He told me how scared he was and how miserable and cold they all were. The fox holes would fill in with frozen water during thaws and the cold water would seep into their bones. His feet were always cold. He hated that. When my mother cleared out his clothing after the funeral he must have had over 100 pairs of socks- most of them expensive thermal socks. Those were the things he never got over. That, and being away from home for six years and never hearing from his family during that time.
Something else he never forgot was when he and his best buddy had gotten done repairing a jeep with frozen brakes. They were taking a cigarette break and the friend he was just joking around with was no longer there. His entire head had been blown off and my father found his friend's body lying lifeless on the crimson snow. They never found the soldier's head. Sitting stock still, listening to my father crying over his long lost friend with no head must have rattled me to the core. Probably not a thing to be sharing with an already anxious six year old. But, he had no one else to talk to about those memories. I guess I was it and now, looking back on it, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
So, headless man from under my bed, you were my father's best friend in the army. You worked on jeeps, tanks and trucks together. You kept each other company during the long, lonely hours of hiding from enemy fire and trying to stay warm in water-logged foxholes. You shared wine, laughter and cigarettes together, and probably stories about women, which, thankfully, my father never repeated to me.
I'm so sorry you lost your life so soon. I'm sorry your family had to get a visit from the officers telling them you would not be returning. I'm also sorry that I was so terrified of you and that I thought you were a monster. You were looking for Joe D'Angelo, not Tina. You just had the wrong room. Rest in peace, soldier and thank you for your sacrifice.
Tina D'Angelo, her father's daughter
I still need you
Dear Adam, I haven't seen you in years. Since I moved from the old house and got rid of my old bed I believe I did so with you as well. Now I am 21 and making a living. I remembered our late-night talks and cuddle sessions. I miss you're long broad body and strong arms around me. The last time I saw you I told you that now that I was an adult I had to move out of moms old house. But mom died a month ago. She gave me the house. I hope when I slide this under my old bed you'll come to moms old room and stay awhile. Adam, now I realize you were the one that got me through to the next day. Please come back to me.
ps. If you come back I have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with your name on them.
Your little Maddy