Something special for Halloween. Trigger warning : abuse

penumbratiny  Penumbra

Penumbra is
the shadows that envelop
dark tentacles slithering
up into the soul
around the heart
through the mind
shrouding ears
and eyes
nose and skin and mouth
fills the belly with the
color of fear

“I am drowning,”
says Emilie
Emilie, sweet as
honey, vicious as a
hurricane, Emilie.
“I am drowning in shadows”

Emilie was
easy prey for
Penumbra who
crept into her sleep
slithering to her
from the drowned
husk of her mother

Penumbra licked Emilie’s thigh
still slick from sweat
where Cousin Lyle had been
her tentacles entered
Emilie’s belly unnoticed
drinking deeply of her fear

Penumbra crept into her mind
repeating the whispers in the
room next door
Elliot (her father)
imploring, pleading
“Run away with me, Sarah.
Lyle likes the girls just fine.”

The dead husk,
Sarah (her mother)
whispers, “No.”
She is numb.

Penumbra keeps a
tentacle entwined
around her just same

Sarah fell down
the stairs
into Penumbra’s embrace
when she was five
and lost her sight

Sarah cannot help her girls
she has already drowned

They drift across the
Oklahoma dust bowl
from one poor relative
to another
Elliot leaves them
at each stop as
he peddles his wares
door to door to door

Penumbra drowned him long, long ago
stolen dreams
no law school for you
vague hopes
whispered in the dark
crushed before light of day
Elliot pleads,
“Run away with me, Sarah.
We can start anew.”

Penumbra is
an ocean of despair
a river of fear
the destroyer of mortals.