Thinking this life sucks the joy out of me the way a

vampire bat sucks the blood out of a sleeping cow,

I’m reminded of the leech that once attached itself to

my leg and clung to me for hours before I felt an itch

and realized it was slowly drinking me the way a child

drinks a chocolate milk.

Some people I won’t mention suck like this too, I think,

as they try to fit inside your shadow

for hours on end, and by the end of the day

you’re a husk of what you once were

and wondering what happened to make you feel

so hollow.

Last night I barely slept because thoughts of

being betrayed by others kept intruding upon

my slumber, inched their way along my hairy back

and with their little numbing bites, began slurping

upon my peace and quiet until I had to get up

just to feel normal again, and yeah, I suppose

this is me telling me how I betray myself, when it’s clear

others also are at fault.

At the time I didn’t know why

I arose from bed and began organizing a three-ring

binder to bring to work in an effort to make myself

feel more self-contained and impervious to spilling.

But when I finished functioning executively, I tried

to go back to bed with my new found sense of

completion, only to dream of anonymous coworkers

threatening to incriminate me if I continued to be

honest with them about how a Hershey bar is

lightning on an individual’s feelings.

My ex-wife would have been right at home watching

me twitch in semi-conscious torment, I told myself,

while I imagined her silently sneaking under the front

door of my studio after a twelve-year absence,

and crawling toward my sleeping body to take whatever

cow-like easygoingness I had left, her wings unfolding

across me, a new, more insidious kind of Desmodus