• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 11
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A Case of Night Terror, and Tygers in Starlight

When this child was nine (let's call her I),
she carved them into the soft of her skin, like stripes:
the lyrics to 'Tyger Tyger, burning bright'.
Growing cause for concern upon
her fractured sleep: always rousing
into night in twisted sheets. Always sticky:
(like animal birth, though) never tired.

They thought it could explain,
(like pyroclastic flow once was by warring gods)
the fracture of a nascent mind.

The therapist asks me
if I know it to be sweat. I pause,
unsure, as I never thought to lick my wounds
to check. Indeed, I always thought it
to be blood. She asks me "yours?",
pressing down the slickened ball within its joint,
and I said in that way: it wasn't so.

It was from the carcass that was mobile,
even from back around the crown of my crib.
While I snore, a cascading 'drip'
'drip, drip': condensation from the Tyger's maw.
"Or it could be tears," I supplied.
It could be weeping.


A Case of Night Terror, and Tygers in Starlight

I explained that I only saw her,
the black Tyger, in my eyelids.
And it was too how I felt the forest:
its midnight, the wax, the rustling
within that canopy.

She held the well of ink
over the page's process.
"From who?" she asked
who'd been crying in my dreams.
And I supposed

the stars themselves.
Maybe for they knew
what I did know:
what hung limp
from that incarnate carnivore.
The vision of the night
in which they, and I, were indeed
all held within itself.

[Maybe the myth was the ink:
which we have carved into us.
Subcutaneous, just.
warm like life and running:
black beneath the skin.]