Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
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Visiting My Old Friend

by Cameron Neilson

It's 1 A.M., I'm with my old friend.
He's visiting me again.
Nowaday's we've grown quite close,
I really don't know how he slips in.
I've bolted the door to my one-room cell,
I've closed the windows and covered the cracks with a towel.
I thought it was just me and roaches,
but no...he's here again.
I scream at the gods,
but they don't hear.
My tongue has too long proclaimed blasphemy,
they'll no longer come near.
So he sits by me on my bed
and runs his fingers through my hair.
I try to grab my friend's arm,
but there's nothing there...
Not even a shadow
my friend casts.
Not even a small tremor,
as he shifts his position on the bed.
But he can scream,
creating symphonies of pain in my head;
a searing red music
that drives me to my knees.
Kissing the cigarrete-stained carpet
I undulge him with my pleas.
Drooling, I beg him to leave me be.
My only friend,
the source of my insanity.
Standing, I see that he is suddenly gone,
with hope I rush about the room
and find that he's not there.
Then I look in to my mirror
and in horror I see,
that he has somehow taken residence
inside of me!
The cogs in my mind turn,
the grating hurts but I must devise a plan
to crack open this shell and set him free,
to get him to leave me be.
I turn to the window and find the answer there,
a five-story drop
will be the key.
I open the window, a blast of cold air.
I turn around and fall back face-up,
I'd hate to see the ground rushing up with such speed.
As I float down I look up at my window
and what do I see?
My friend,
he is there...laughing,
he's played a nasty trick on me.

Copyright © 2002 Cameron Neilson

Cameron Neilson lives with his wife and two dogs in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He studied psychology at the University of Oklahoma and served four years in the Marine Corps. Cameron learned German so he could read the work of Herman Hesse in the original language.

Find more by Cameron Neilson in the Author Index.

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