The Destroyer

Self-destruction works from the inside out.
We hear it scratching gently in the night
Like a mouse when the bedroom is too dark to see.
Somewhere we hear the crick of tooth on wood
And lie awake, imagining it inside
The book on the bedside table or behind
The lamp or peering from a drawer or shelf.
Turn light on it, it will disappear.
Lie in the dark, and it will scatter sleep.
Wait for the dawn: light shows there’s nothing there
To finger or to tangle in a trap.
It comes and goes behind the walls we’ve built
As though we’d built the walls for nothing else
Except to hold, like Jericho, until
The trial. Then, with clang of ritual music,
The walls of self bow down their severed heads.