In the shadows

by Emma Danes

To find her like that on a hot
night, as though the stairs down to us,
and lamps, and the smell of cooking,
were utterly impassable –

to burn on the frozen metal
of her cries. It is my nightmare
as much as hers: to be less real
than giants or wolves, a ghost touch,

a whisper in the dark. She runs
from room to room, flings down, jerks up,
until sleep that never let go
overwhelms her. The dream slips off.

Monsters resume their existence
as dolls and dressing gowns. While I
can only wait in the shadows
to be dreamt – so loud, and so clear.