The Intruder || Edward Hemstreet

Skull deadbolted,
          but still It knocks
with the fist clenched white
and the knuckles stained crimson.
(This is merely for humor,
as It knows a power:
          the premium penchant
to float through the walls.)
So strong comes the presence,
the hint and the haunt—
sweet angels stripped nude,
          assaulted and prodded;
a thousand ticks teeming
to suck on the skin;
young children defiled
          by unwilling hands;
an illness so terminal
and stark in the heart.
It sits on the cortex,
the Mind’s mighty cushions,
          spewing those Sins
like a long-held secret…
and of all the cruelties,
this is Its worst:
I must sit down beside It
          and pretend I am safe.

This was originally published in Spring 2018 edition of The Helix.


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