The conversation has turned as nasty as the weather.
Suddenly, he's nice again, voice soft velvet:
"Come over and I'll tuck you in."
The roads are sheeted in ice and you say no.
His voice rises, a roar like the bitter winter storm.
You slam down the phone,
don't feel quite alone in the silence
and from the corner of your eye,
you spot a horrible, flickering something
a leering demon's head, stretching
through the wall, jagged jaws spreading wide --
Turn in fright
and it's just the clock, face blank
as it ticks away the seconds to midnight.
Hurry off to your bedroom, strip under the gaze
of the stuffed toys he brought:
your nakedness shines in the bright glass eyes.
The toys' smiles are frozen, stitched shut
with coarse red thread.
Slip on the thin nightgown, slide
into bed under the comforter and hide like a little girl.
Turn out the light and the world is black,
but you hear the trees scratching at your window.
You peek out as the half-light seeps in.
The shadows coagulate, separate into gloom,
and you can see his toys around the room, arrayed
on the vanity, on the dresser and shelves,
shapes vague and dull like the threats he used to make
when he didn't think you knew how to leave him.
Crack of thunder and lightning flash
and suddenly you can see you're trapped,
surrounded in a ring of bright, living eyes
and asymmetrical, razor-toothed smiles.