More in the Dark than Ever
When do you stop being afraid of the dark
and start realizing...
It's not the dark.
It's what might be in it.
When do the nightmares start?
It's a natural thing, or isn't it?
being afraid of the absence of light...
We all started out in the nothingness anyway,
inside a womb with no view.
It's the light, after all,
that should frighten us
--the glaring variety of hues on a set of eyes
fresh out of the box--
you would think from there on
the lack is a sanctum.
(Especially with those women nurses
in their gaudy gauche scrubs with happy-technicolor cartoons
of bandaids and syringes sporting crosseyed smiley-faces
running around all the time all over the place--
that kind of stuff can damage a kid!)
But when did I start having nightmares about half-burnt-out lightbulbs
and doors off their hinges
that couldn't keep the strangers out
and let the claw-wielding things
make a near-successful grab at me?
The transition goes on.
When I was four (or five or six),
I depended on my Snoopy nightlight
All my Now-I-Lay-Mes
A kiss from both Mommy and Daddy
(for good luck...you know there's nothing they can do...)
and a nice wall to back up against
so the whatthehellizzits
can't take me by surprise.
When did it stop again,
to need thicker curtains and a closed door
and to cover the clock on my VCR
to sleep in comfort and pitch-blackness?
The whatthehellizzits leave me alone mostly,
and I stick to sensible nightmares now
about tornadoes and student teaching and moving slow-motion.
The dark-fear never comes into play...
except when I have to feed Lauren's cat if she's out of town (WHY
can't they change that lightbulb already?!)
now instead I have a phobia of the sound of bicycle wheels--
no more tire tracks on my neck, thankyouverymuch--
and I need my security wall to keep my world from
expanding too far...
Can we just leave off that thing at the theater last May?
Sometimes I wonder what a child I still am,
but I still won't look in the mirror in the dark.