Janet MacFadyen

What I do about the nightmares

going into battle I
bandage my head     light campfires
pull the covers down    no one can predict
what happens on the plains of sleep
what glistening armies     where the black water
what its source       I wear
my best headwrap boldly trumpeted
in scarlet sulfur lime    it is important
to scare off the enemy    alternatively
I try kindness     console my head at the prospect
of another night      cushion and cradle it
so it will not cry so strenuously
at being abandoned       or court it with aphrodisiacs
and magnificat seeds        let it gaze at the moon
to fill up on lunacy        just as another
hell train revs up down the line       a praying
mantis crawls outside the window with the bulging
eyes of someone who has seen god     why why
o little one    it wants to know
have you locked yourself in
for so long



Janet MacFadyen is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Adrift in the House of Rocks (New Feral Press 2019), and Waiting to Be Born (Dos Madres Press 2017). In addition to Sweet, her poetry has appeared in Scientific American, CALYX, Crannóg, Poetry, Q/A Poetry, and Terrain. She has been a writing fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and is currently the managing editor of Slate Roof Press. Strawberries, strawberries, strawberries!


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