Michael Estabrook

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Fear of Nightmares

Like in a horror movie he’s breathless
outside himself watching himself running
from the hairy black faceless one chasing him
through the rambling old house in Nanuet
with its attics, crawlspaces, cubbies and inky closets.

Suddenly fire bursts out in the far corner
of the back basement the flames leaping
and clawing at the air but there’s no smoke only flames
as I quickly close the electric switch all the way
but the fire rages on waking me in a cold sweat.

In a subway tunnel the walls made of blue tiles. Snakes
are everywhere their tongues flicking the air
some crawling through holes in the tiles. My father
appears walking towards me to save me
but he can’t avoid stepping on the snakes.

I’m standing at the foot
of my father’s grave when suddenly
the dirt at the head in front of the monument
begins to crumble and dissolve
into the darkness below inviting me in.


Michael Estabrook is retired. No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms, able instead to focus on making better poems when he’s not, of course, endeavoring to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List.