I don't write poetry very often. I wrote this one years ago and I keep going back and tweaking it.
Night crept into the palace.
“Come, my children.”
Night crawled beneath my door.
“Come, my children. I am waiting.”
Night swiftly overtook my bed.
“Come, my children. It is time.
“Open the door, child.”
I do not answer. They are cunning.
If we converse, they will win.
If I respond, I will lose.
Best not to admit that I am here.
I cannot hide, but can pretend.
I can pretend I am not here.
I mustn’t admit my presence here.
Not even to myself.
“Open the door. We are your friends.”
They are cunning. I must be silent.
They know I am here, but if I pretend,
I can make them doubt.
Cunning. They have learned my game.
They cease their fruitless chat.
The handle shakes. The door is locked.
They cannot enter. I am safe.
So long as the lock holds.
Then, silence. Perhaps they've gone.
But they are cunning. Mustn’t trust them.
Even their silence can tell lies.
They are still there. Best not to move.
Pretend, still, I am not here.
Stay curled on an ancient bed.
Do not shiver with the cold.
For they know that I am here.
My one hope is to make them doubt.
The silence stretches on, tempting.
Tells me to relax. Let down my guard.
Open the door, maybe, to check.
No. They are cunning. Do not move.
Best not to breathe, but breathe I must.
Just hope that it is soft.
Just hope they do not hear.
Hope to convince them, convince myself,
Convince them that I am not here.
“Please, open the door.”
A man's voice this time.
Its cadence warm, and deep, and strong.
He does not cackle, but lures me in.
They are cunning. Do not listen.
Do not move. You will lose.
“Is someone in there? Please.
“I’m frightened.” Tempting.
“I need help. Please, let me in.”
He reassures me. They are cunning.
The words seem distant. They lack meaning.
A warning, to myself, but why?
I forget. Forget the fear. A man needs help.
Who am I to deny him?
I rise from the bed. “So you are there.”
He sounds relieved. Perhaps he doubted.
“Yes, I am here.” And I’ve engaged.
Responded, and let down my guard.
“I’m going to unlock the door.”
I hear him step back, politely.
I open the door. The voice did justice.
He is the strong young man he seemed.
Perhaps he will rescue me.
Save me from the monsters.
And we will live forever, happy
In my palace, free of fear.
But not until he enters here.
I should close the door behind him.
But he walks past me, and I follow,
All my attention trained on him.
The room is dark. No moon tonight.
I have not lit a lamp, for fear.
But I can see him well enough.
He smiles, then, a charming smile.
A cunning smile, and I have fallen.
Never to climb up.
He holds out his hand to mine,
And takes me in a tight embrace.
I could not break it, if I wished.
My warning is forgotten, and my fear.
I would stay here until my death.
Well, that is true enough.
His smile ceases. “We are cunning.”
These last words, he says wistfully.
He looks beyond me, and I turn my head.
“My two sisters, and my mother.”
I see them through the doorway now.
They are cunning. I have lost.
Or, to rephrase that, they have won.
Three cackles rend the air.
One does not, belongs to him.
I cannot hide, cannot pretend.
I am here, held fast by one
Who will not rescue me.
I wish to be more brave, but I
let forth with several tears.
I cannot stay here in his arms--
This will be over all too soon.
For me, at any rate.
My cunning captor meets my gaze,
And, wordlessly, explains.
I know he bears me no ill will, but that they have a need.
And as their teeth tear into me, I scarcely feel the pain.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after.