You hide yourself in shadows deep
to watch me as I fall to sleep.
Half-lidded, with your sleepy stare,
you cup my cheek and stroke my hair.
I do not know as I fall deeper
that you stalk this drifting sleeper.
Once I have no power to resist,
you give my hair a painful twist.
I try to jerk awake but fail.
I tense my muscles, fight and flail,
but I cannot escape your grasp.
I call for help. I moan and gasp.
Sir Nightmare, from where do you come
with death knoll beat on ragged drum?
I hear its pulse now through the day.
At every hour, it sounds the way
back to the horror of the night––
a pathway to that final fight
when I will mount at last that steed
that nightly stands to do its deed
to carry to oblivion
this sleeper off to meet her kin—
that father lost, those lovers three
who wait for my delivery.
Is this nightmare just a dream—
a mere digression from the stream
of conscious thought—a nightly swim
through a fantasy most grim,
or a window showing me
The prompt word today was delivery.