Covers tight as clingfilm. Tell them you fell headfirst, steadied yourself, sucked out what was left in your throat, coughed that creamy polyethylene onto the pillow. Eyeballs infused with miniature blue irises plunge into the well. The drop is colossal, blinking, brick by brick. I haul my right foot to a cold corner. Thousands of bed mites riot, gnaw at toenails, mouths like shoplifters’ swelled pockets, until I enter the last passage to a sandy beach, where sunrise is a palette of spiteful jellyfish, grains of sand gyrating on blades of grass, dew overly clingy on the spine of a leaf. Breath-draughts howl translations of every human sin. From the ceiling light, spiders swing their busy silk limbs over rising sea levels to the green carpeted corner; punishment to watch for its ingenuity. It won’t be long until olfactory organs locate victims. On architraves, baby-eggs crack open, lock eight infant eyes as webs on the Bluebottle fly’s flat-winged back. The room fills with panic, claws gruesomely exchanging nails from one mouth to another. Rats lasso tails around the helix of my ears, brushing whiskers so gently against my cheeks at first I thought I’d dreamt one hundred kind men. I imagine I can convince them all. A marauding Cyclops invades what’s left of my left eye — fourteen facial bones doused in sable foundation — makes a camp-fire from faces inside the base of the bed. It’s unclear what happened next, pillows drenched like armpits, thick black breath a sheen on the loft window, terrible hotness at the taped flap of the letterbox, neighbours sniffing around bins. Within days, adolescent blowflies drag into the dream-chamber salvaged versions of every unidentified nightmare.
Maeve McKenna lives in Sligo, Ireland. She visits the forests regularly where she tells the trees her secrets. Her work is widely published in print and online and placed in several international poetry competitions. Only the trees know the rest.