The Monster Outside the Closet 


The monster in the closet is little.
He hides in my shoes

when I open
the door. With bulging eyes
and a mouth

wide with half-formed teeth, he smiles

as I ruffle the fur on his head.
He scarfs every scrap

smuggled in. The monster in the closet is scratching
at the door while I sleep. When I shush him,
he stops shyly and resumes

in a minute.
Sometimes he growls, but it doesn’t mean

I am growing thin
as he eats all my meals.

The monster in my closet has moved
under my bed. When he shifts his position,
I fall to the floor,
and must hurry

to avoid being eaten.

He likes me, I know,
but his appetite is fierce and discerns
neither sense nor restraint.
The monster is loose

in the hallway.
He hides in the linens, then sneaks
to the shower and growls at the curtain.

When my father traverses the hall,
the monster is a shadow
waiting to be seen.

The monster is too big
for the house.
His stomping awakens the neighbors,

but my parents won’t notice.
They recognize his voice, how it roars,
and his footsteps, how they clap.

He is fed from the inside
of me, and will soon be no more
than a monster.