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She haunts me. Daily. When I wake up, she hides under the bed for only a moment. Teasing that she went away. I blink and she’s back tapping on my shoulder with her manicured nail, painted in blood red and sharpened to a tip. Interrupting my thoughts; my hopes; reminding me that she Is always there. Waiting. Stalking. I plan a future but she frays the corners of my mind, teasing me about flights and storms and the dangers of them all. She reminds me of the future that might never come to pass. She stands with me when I go to my doctor and they scan my body looking for danger. Shrugging her thin shoulders when I get the all clear and she mumbles under her breath, “maybe next year.” She forwards me articles about the souls that lost their battle with their own mental demons. Ones that look and feel like mine. But they made the decision or were pushed to and she whispers, “that could have been you.” She sits in the pew of the funeral home as I pay my respects to the family of a woman I barely knew, but who left the world after a life well lived. And the crimson nail motions towards the coffin as her lips pucker and she mouths, “that could have been you.” She is there, now and always. Stepping fully out of the shadows as I turn out the light and lay my head on my pillow trying to ignore her glossy glare as I slip to sleep. But still… I can’t escape her. She follows me to my dreams… chasing me like I’m her prey and she’s starving for a capture. She chants and pants, “that could have been you” as she haunts me. Counting down the seconds, the moments, until she can caress me and fold me into her bosom. Making me a trophy residing on her shelf. I toss and turn in my sleep and whisper to her in the shadow. Her name escapes my lips, and is shared with the world “Death”

#theme #poem from the #march #issue of our #free #monthly #digital #magazine - free to subscribe! Free to submit!

Kassie J Runyan (c) United States

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