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Darkness is Your Friend

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You know him as a giver of life,
a protector,
a father's smile and a mother's waiting arms.
You know him for the aura he radiates,
one that is both timeless and fleeting,
promising both safety and freedom,
a life filled with warmth and sunsoaked laughter.
You pay money just to stand beside him,
to brush against his skin and cup his hands in yours,
gazing in reverence at his smooth palms and spindle-fingers,
splayed and thin like moonbeams
filtered through window-slats,
that steal into your bedroom,
reaching for you, straining to
hold you
soothe you
comfort you
and that is all you feel before you fall asleep;
that is all you know of him.
But I, I have stayed awake these nights, and I
what happens after your eyelashes flutter closed,
after your breathing slows into one-two-three rhythm.
I watch as he lowers his lips to yours and
draws out your dreams through your mouth,
gorges on your hopes and aspirations,
treats himself to the taste of
childhood memories,
mangling them with his tongue and
grinding them through his teeth
until they sour into nightmares.
And when you wake, shivering and sweating,
he is gone,
escaped out the window,
through the neighborhood,
flitting between streetlights,
jumping from neon signs,
to pixelated screens,
to someone's shaking fingers as they light a cigarette,
before dissipating into the sky to take up residence in the stars
for the few hours before dawn comes.
All that is left is myself, the Dark,
and it is I you blame for your disturbance.
You curse me, paint me as a villain
and warn your children to stay away,
when all I ever sought to do was shield you,
to cloak you in my embrace and hide you from him.
It is not I you should be afraid of,
not Darkness,
for I cradle you to my chest
and sing you songs about worlds where pain is replaced by oblivion.
I am not the one who assaults you with colors of violence
who shoves reality in your face
and sends your flaws into sharp relief.
That is Light.
Light is your enemy.
Darkness is your friend.

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