WHAT FIVE DAYS UP WILL DO
There is a lofty gaunt man standing beside my window.
A long-necked, long-legged bird perhaps, very still.
The contour vague in this dark, hard to know.
There is a tiny gaunt woman in the clothes hamper.
A small limbed, small clawed crustacean rustling shirts.
The closet seems remote, I’d know my laundry.
There are several dotards inside my mattress.
A swarm of vermin throbbing coils, vermin prodding sheets.
The bed where I lie shuddering, I know this.
There is a child floating above my pillow.
A mesh of webbing, latticed ocelli blankets light.
A spider-jaw, the itsy bitsy. I’m known to see it.
I turn from it, catch an eyeful of afternoon rays.
The man-bird drawing back curtain.
There’s some woman crouching on the chair
hiding within the folds my coat
whose now facing me as I wake.
“You’ve got to fix this.”
I look to the outline of my sideways-laying
wife and wonder about the second set of eyes behind
her head and if they’re open.
The woman has crept on to the bed,
clutching at the sheets, glowing in this dark.
“You’ve just got to.”
“I’m only a man."
“You’ve got to do better.”
I see now that the woman has
no mouth. Not a nose. No eyes either.
Just paste. She crumples into nothing
and is gone.
“I’ll do better tomorrow.
I’ll fix everything.
My wife stirs. As quietly as
possible I feign the sounds
of prolonged sleep.
“No, you won’t.”
My husband tried to talk me down.
What with his arms-open gesturing,
his aggrieved look of faux innocence,
and his explanatory bullshit.
I hear him and a lady whispering
in the murk of night, oft at our very bed,
her figure slipping out of the room before
I’ve the courage for screams and wronged-
person’s clearing of the air.
I’ve taken my own, since he’s apparently
taking his; Jeremy Bresco, right in the gardens
and Steven Mallord, a childhood friend.
We live in this brokenness now and
we’re equal pieces, husband and wife.
A man came at me this night, forwardly,
at the corner of the hallway. I stopped short
of a yell; seeing his formlessness of face;
no features, a mannequin, a thing.
“You’ve got to fix this.
You’ve got to do better,
at everything. Go to him
I find my husband on the bed; I tell all.
We talk out the hours less and less worried
about the man and the lady watching from
the doorway. Transfixed in their glowing,
non-seeing looks. When it is over, they’ve gone.
I fall into a deep, untroubled sleep that I wouldn’t
wake from willingly.
Erric Emerson is a poet and short story writer residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Goddard Collage. He is the former Poetry Co-Editor for Duende literary journal. His poems have been featured in Collage, Neon, Gingerbread House, Control, Mead, and Prairie Margins.
His horror short story “Wednesday” was featured in Issue 64 of Blood Moon Rising.