Pain is a prowler at your back door, scuffing his boots,

     smudging the window, rattling the knob;

a robber stomping on your glassed photographs, scooping your

     grandfather’s pocket watch, your mother’s pearls,

     your antique radio.


It’s a stalker with thumping footfall, and the breath of

     browning mango peels in an alley;

a mugger who claws at your chest, tears away the red petal

     of your lip, who rips off your wallet, your grad ring,

     your fingernail.


Pain is a kidnapper holding your grandchild ransom in a room

     with no windows, no teddy bear, binding her mouth

     on a sweat-soaked, oily rag;

a terrorist slowly pressing the wires in his thick vest,

     waving a knife ready to cut the flower of your throat.


It’s a guerilla ghost that shoves itself into your dreams,

     into your day, bashing you with a rifle butt over

     and over and over.