Jennifer Lynn Krohn
The house groans;
in my closet the hunched figure
–straight out of a Goya painting–
clenches and unclenches its fists
waiting until I sleep to step out,
scoop up my body,
and bite off my head.
If I try to run,
scaled coils will wind around my ankle
dragging me beneath my bed…
I pull the blankets over my head.
Damn it! I’m 29
–I shouldn’t still be afraid
of the dark, afraid of the bogeyman.
My sympathetic nervous system
has never listened to reason.
Pure panic–banging on my front door–
3 a.m.—yelling, Let me in! I grabbed
the phone, screamed: I’m calling the cops!
Fists against wood–Bitch! Don’t you dare!
You know I’m no criminal—no monster. Now
open this goddamned door! While giving
my address to the 911 operator—silence.
The policeman asks me what problem
I’m having with my husband.
I’m not married.
He asks how I know the man he found
passed out in my driveway.
Only when the drunk stops saying
it should be a crime to lock a man out
of his own home and starts yelling
where the hell is my house? does the officer
just let me fill out the report.
I thank the officer,
lock the door
bless the dead bolt
go back to bed.
I pull the blankets over me
then throw them off.
My comforter could muffle screams.
I try not to think of fists
Try not to think about the hand
I try not to think about…
I try to imagine the gigantic foot emerging
from the closet, followed by a shaggy head,
face the size of the moon
but the nightmare that has haunted me
since childhood never appears.
There’s only the rows of clothes in there.
I try to hear green scales scraping below me;
the air conditioner thrums on.
and if tomorrow that man comes back…
Surely that isn’t the house settling,
surely that is some spectral phantom waiting,
for me to fall asleep,
surely it isn’t
the drunk coming back
to shatter my windows and…
Jennifer Lynn Krohn was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she currently lives with her husband. She earned her MFA from the University of New Mexico, and she currently teaches English at Central New Mexico Community College. She has published work in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Necessary Fiction, Storm Cellar, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, among others.