“close your eyes,” my therapist says to me.
“picture your monster. tell me what you see.”
i know what she wants me to say.
she wants me to describe a ghoulish, ghostly man,
with spindly, scaly fingers that end in claws
and skin like greased obsidian.
his eyes are hollow and his breath is curdled.
his grin is intoxicating, and i feel its bitterness in my soul.
he climbs around on hands and knees,
stalks me like prey,
like a wolf and a deer, like a wolf and a little girl.
he terrifies me in a way that’s obvious.
that’s what she wants me to say.
i see in front of me a girl with posture so rigid
her spine may as well be steel.
her hands are clasped in front of her and they shake just a little.
her hair is pinned neatly back and her skin is clear, clean.
her eyes shine out from her face,
wet gathers at the corners and tracks silent paths down her cheeks.
her eyes will not meet mine; they are not smiling.
the bathroom mirror shimmers with heat.
“tell me what you see,” my therapist says.
“i see a ghoulish, ghostly man,” i tell her,
“with spindly, scaly fingers that end in claws
and skin like greased obsidian.”
i have always known how to keep some demons to myself.