Submissions open for Wingword Poetry Prize 2020

A Gory Nightmare

Maithili Mali

what a strange little trick a nightmare is
the complicated mind even in its state of unconsciousness
letting you know that you are not alone
hosting unwanted visitors that gnaw on the insides of your head

the terrifying nightmares you remember
in fragments like a shipwreck tossed out of the ocean
are only a fraction of all monstrosities you have ever seen
open your minds to the demons of the night
and tell us what do you really remember?

I remember a storm chasing after me
driving me into deep dark woods
with no path to trace, no path for an exit
the bodies of everyone who couldn’t escape
was the only landmark hanging
from those dense ghastly peepul trees

I remember being in this scattered village in the woods
after the storm had passed
thanking god after hearing some signs of life
and the tiny hustle of people around
little did I know this comfort was just an illusion
a feeble glass artifact that was about to be shattered fast

I remember how the woods suddenly went silent,
how kids swallowed their sobs and their mothers
tightly latched doors from the inside
protecting them? from what?
I was left alone in the middle of a wild chase
stuck in a game of life and death

I remember seeing little ghostly children from my hiding place
tightly crouched under a broken window in a deserted house
the hair on the nape of my neck tingled
a dreaded feeling in my stomach
as the children sang the song of the dead
an ominous tune that would have your soul ask Satan for forgiveness

I remember staring in horror
at their blood soaked mouths
their tiny hands clasping
a different breathing organ of their latest kill
devouring their screams with an indifferent joy

I remember tightly shutting my eyes
praying to escape this inexplicable horror
and then being hypnotized by my own death
asking those children about their mother
when I knew it was her they were feasting on
And then finding out they could not speak
except to chant Satan's favorite song to lure their kill

I remember unparalleled agony
and flashes of Dante’s circles of hell
but I was unable to scream
as they clawed through my body
fresh, divine blood to drink
I sighed a last sigh in pain
and all that was heard was the tune
that was the reason for my gory end


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