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They say he cannot reach me, cannot touch me.

They say anxiety breeds him, makes him.

He’s real enough to me.

Those shocking, sibilant, small sounds

unnamed, unknown, whistling down the wind.

Cob spider-scuttles in my room

hag-haunt my hearing, send me wild.

I fear to dream, insane horrors mass and gather.

Sleep’s a page torn from a prescription pad

tossed in derision.

Hear! Hear that! He whispers questions.

What crawls underground, what lies beneath?

Far, far worse than madness, dear one.

There are teeth: bloody, fanged and filed.

Trailing translucent wings under appalling stars

he sighs, wind-shod, sliding through my keyhole,

whispers in my ear.

Long bones click-clack climbing my stairs,

implacable, eternal pacing.

Perhaps my buried father seeks

a kiss from his remorseful child.


Jean is a member of poetry study group ‘Poets in Progress’ based in Ruardean, Glos. UK. Her work has appeared in anthologies ‘Survival’ (Hammond House), Dean Writers’ ‘Resilience’ and ‘Ways to Peace’. She won the 2020 international Hammond House Poetry competition, and co-judged their 2021 and 2022 competitions.

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