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After the Nightmare

Published on:
January 27, 2020
Read time:
1 min.
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Hush, my boy.
Your Mama’s here.
Dry your tears;
it was only a dream.

Only it wasn’t,
and I know the night
is dark and wild
with yellow eyes

and hungry cries
creeping out from the fold
of your covers. I know
it keeps you awake.

It keeps me awake.
And no monster spray
or soothing coos
will lull us back to sleep.

Since the bite and the curse
we’ve all felt the fear—
(yes, even the grown-ups
especially the grown-ups)—

of the ancient foe
who lurks in the dark
slithering his way
up the posts of our bed.

I’m sorry, my child,
I don’t mean to scare you
so I’ll read you a tale
of dragons and knights,

of Lucy and Aslan,
of Frodo and Sam
because my son
when you face the dragon— 

and yes, my beloved,
you will face him indeed—
I hope you remember
the stories of courage

of bravery in battle
of comrades and queens
of the triumph of good
at the end of the day.

The king is with you. 
He is Spirit and sword,
Excalibur shaping
in the palm of your hand

and I’m with you, too,
to wear the ring
or empty a vial
or hold on to your hand

I know the enemy
is fierce and strong
but his end is already written,
and you’re not the only one afraid.

Laura Kauffman
Laura Kauffman, MA is the author of Carolina Clay: A Collection of Poems on Love and Loss. She writes from the Loess Hills of Iowa, where she lives with her three sons, four pets, 15 chickens, and one husband, Chris.  You can follow her on Twitter @laura_kauff.

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