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Sestina Incubus

 

 

Sleep has made you vulnerable for all its wanton shapes
alluring impositions and blood paintings, baring your skin
to the demonic defiler, drinker of dreams, your Incubus
stripping you clean of fluid youth and lithe grace.  Hurry
through the house, bolt all doors, locks, windows, still
a backdoor slams open.  Lock your bedroom door, sounds

 

 

of heavy steps approaching; ear pressed against door, sounds
now of someone behind you you can hear these shapes
of a chill so close, so near, its breathing holds you still.
At nape of neck cold fingers touch, petrifying your skin.
Want to move, speak, cry out, awaken, you want to hurry
to disentangle yourself from the arms of your Incubus

 

 

but not even the ghost of a last gasp can escape the Incubus
breath hovers white like a surgical mask, sterile rubber sounds
squirt from a syringe, its needle injects into your eye in a hurry
forcing forth a penumbra blur of fluid hues and jarring shapes
in burning whiskey amber.  Dirty fingernails claw into your skin
holding you down, closer, holding you close and closer still

 

 

sucking the luster from the sheen, stealing from your still
of greenest streams of pre-fleshed thought, your dark Incubus
breeding as he bleeds into dreams once pure as alabaster skin.
Dead fingers force into a mouth pride wide with choked sounds
as muffled cries smother into whispers, their distorting shapes
echo into one slow scream echoing closer, closing in, in a hurry

 

 

through dead thickets converging to dead-end paths.  Hurry!
Run!  You trip, fall, are falling back asleep, deep into the still
of your dream, succumbing to a frottage of fatigue that shapes
arms of your bed tucking you under the cloak from the Incubus
you turn, toss in sleep, are tossing sleep to the invasive sounds
of a throbbing inside your stomach, a rotting under your skin

 

 

scars wriggling together closer, another wrinkle on your skin
straws of graying parasite crowd your scalp the more you hurry
to comb these stands away.  Like a purr, rasp-gurgling sounds
belie a suction through hollow teeth draining the deep from still
wells of supple youth a desiccation of flesh by your Incubus
Nightly, you age blood red to burning whiskey amber in shapes

 

 

of Incubus slipping it in, slipping the nightmare under your skin
with this hurry that is aging you.  You age, are aging still
in fluid shapes of whiskey amber amidst rasp-purring sounds.

 
 

--- Chris Custer