Abruptly jarred from peaceful slumber,
her heart starts to race.
Outside her bedroom door
their loud voices warp into vicious screams.
Pulling the blankets over her head
she braces for another night of terror.
Her fists clenched, eyes squeezed tight,
trying to keep out the sounds.
Louder and louder, the battle continues.
Deeper and deeper she hides in her fortress,
praying for an expeditious surrender.
Imagining the worst as the doors slam
and the walls thump and the words fly
back and forth like poisoned darts.
The warriors are skillful,
they know their marks well.
Throughout the night, the carnage continues,
opening new wounds,
reopening old wounds.
she recoils and shudders and squeezes her eyes even tighter,
longing to be somewhere else, pretending to be someone else,
her pillow drenched with tears.
Eventually, the frightening cries diminish–
empty promises echo outside her door.
For now the chaos has ended.
The silence burns her ears,
once again she remembers to breathe.
Morning arrives too soon.
She dares to examine
the invisible scars
inflicted upon her heart.
She’s relieved to have endured
one more painful night.
One more agonizing nightmare.
© Shelli Carlisle 2010