nightmares [poem]

I had a nightmare once
that I was chased down by a rabid dog
I woke up scared
my mind flitting back
to the first time a dog really did corner me
with angry teeth and a vicious growl
it took years for me to move past my fear
to learn not to flinch at a dog’s bark
I had a nightmare about drowning
after falling from a bridge
my arms heavy and unable to bring me back up for air
I awoke with the sick sensation of being out of control
suffocating in my own skin
I’ve always avoided tight spaces and deep water
there was a nightmare that had me embarrassed
as a trusted friend spilled my everything
to strangers for an easy laugh
I woke up red in the face
nauseous
and almost afraid to tell anyone my secrets
to trust someone deeply enough
to willingly become so vulnerable
my nightmares have always played off my fears
like nightmares do
reminding me through subliminal messaging
that I’m careful for a reason
maybe that’s why I dream of you sometimes
because being loved and then let go
is a recurring nightmare I can’t seem to escape

-poem by Larissa Lee
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