Echoes from the creaking chair release me From hypnosis that holds me fixed upon the fire Born from my handmaid's hand. It stokes and cracks. My oak seat sits beneath my cheeks: hard and hot As if another dared sit, or so I thought. Another time, for the whispers of the draft Float freely through the apartment raft, Skirting off the wood steps past— I close my eyes to begin the mantra I memorized so well: “Lord, send me to myself again and save me from this hell.” One last crack blows from the stove. I slip to darkness: Black and empty. The draft is back, But instead it takes my breath. They become deep. My senses dull. I near to sleep. I am not, but I am Alone. In meditation I find time To explore the colors that collide With my cones to revive and remind The shallow peace that’s buried deep. Concentrated energy expanding and constricting— My wrists rest gently on the wooden arm Where my pulse echoes through my chambers And my palms. A gailing wind echoes back, A sweeping darkness dressed in black. The echoes grow louder and fast. The walls dawn the Scythe Draped in bloodied blankets, Death, and disaster. She pounds the walls with fists, Breaks the silence behind my lids. My eye shoots open and there she steps: A ghastly face born from the West. Her lake green eyes shadowed by her haunting hood And a lock of blonde sweeping as she stood. Her eyes match mine And her stare reminds Me of a mirror. She looks like the worst parts of me: Rosy flesh over rotting bone. Her reach invites me to annihilate us both. Her hesitant hand grips my throat. I warmly hold her hand in mine For only a moment, a moment in time.