a stone is made smooth

A stone is made smooth
with the least bit of pressure,
a constant and maybe thoughtless rubbing
between thumb and forefinger.
As tarnish from a piece of old silver,
maybe your grandmother’s knife made bright,
Or the wind’s insistence against snowcapped mountains
Or water-made canyons
Of deep hollows, fern filled and green,
Hiding the shy deer and red fox den.

I keep that pressure steady-
Rubbing the memories deep into my skin.
Tattooing the years tears on the lines of my face
Until I see your eyes
Look into mine
From the bathroom mirror
Rubbed clean.

one, two, three, four….

When I was a child,
I would switch off the light at the doorway and
Before night fell into the corners of the room,
I would run swiftly to the rug in the middle of the floor.
I counted one, two, three-
Then leapt onto the middle of the bed,
hurrying under the covers and holding my breath:

One two three four five six seven eight nine ten

Making sure there were no sounds coming from the great darkness
Beneath my bed-
That I had not somehow dislodged

something

Then I could sleep.

Now I stand at the shore
Of an ocean of wept tears
There is no island of comfort
No counting charms to chant
Only the great darkness falling heavily
Into the corners of the room.

Nothing now between
me
and the monsters.