She takes her white night dress off from the spiny grey coat hanger
and lets it slip over her skinny body in a ghostly transformation,
she lights a candle in a saucer and walks down the stairs
where she will tuck her little goblin creature into bed.
The spare room off the hallway, always darkened
in shadow, draped with torture dangle chains
with hooks shaped like the tails of scorpions. The goblin lingers,
persistent hopefulness smeared across his wanting eyes
and he plods his way forwards into gradual, raking light,
she slaps him round the face and drips hot wax onto his balding head.
A guttural and child-like yelp spills from his sobbing mouth
and he stumbles backwards as if stunned. My poor little baby,
did mummy hurt you? She’s sorry; now get into bed! Choking
sobs splash the slab-stone floor and his wet feet slap over to the
baby’s cot. He clambers in. She puts the nightlight on to placate him;
a crude, pumpkin-like lantern except it’s her husband’s severed head.
She coos soft lullabies at him, he hiccup-cries into his stuffed hand
comfort toy while she covers him over with a single solid sheet
of her husband’s skin. The leathery coolness makes him shiver,
his tears pool in small puddles. He chews his blanket softly and sleeps.