Feed Me
Helen R. Peterson
Break

I slip the bowl under the bed as the lights go out, the heat of his breath tickling my knuckles before I yank my hand back to the safety of the comforter. The slurp and munch of the granola sprinkled generously on top is a lullaby of safety for my bones, intestines undigested, breathing sweet, sweet dreams.

His lips are formed from guilt, self conscious thoughts fallen to the floor, curling in upon themselves to form the sneer, the teeth sharp, clicking in the night. His body formed by hate, jealousy, words stuck to jeans, t shirt, bra slipped off and kicked under the bed wrapping around the teeth, forming the bones that sprout the jaws, the claws.

Finding out the goblin had a sweet tooth was an accident in laziness, a banana peel tucked into a back pocket forgotten in the nightly kick. Morning was slick with drool, blanketing the floor, a tropical scent condensing the windows. Pudding was easy, and cheap to scoop nightly, keeping my toes safe from the occasional nip, saving my clothes to be washed another day.

I stuck to banana after experimenting with chocolate, vanilla, and butterscotch. Tapioca nearly cost me my life, the morning after revealed tiny pearls embedded in the ceiling, walls, and window panes. I was always careful to wash my hands after scooping yellow globs into the pink plastic bowl he favored, taking care under the nails. Granola replaced the traditional Nilla wafers, which made no sound. I’d come to realize I needed to hear the beast before sleep would take me, his presence ensuring that nothing worse could sneak in in the dead of night.

Helen R. Peterson has been published in over 100 online and print journals, both nationally and internationally. Most recently she’s had work accepted at Word Riot, Juked, Existere, and Strong Verse. She was also featured in The Lunch Break Book published by Poet Plant Press, was the editor of the small print journal Chopper, and read at the Bowery Poetry Club in November. A mother of three living in Connecticut, you can find her blog at mspetersonexplains.wordpress.com