The helplessness of limbs you can’t command,
The feeling something’s lurking just behind.
The slithering that just might be a snake,
The touch of something very like a hand:
Though you may tell yourself they’re in your mind,
The dreaming horrors are still hard to shake.
Yet this is worse: a phantom of a friend,
Words that sound compassionate and kind
But turn to lies and promises that break
And wrap you in a nightmare that won’t end
Now you’re awake.
Note: the prompt was to write a curtal sonnet: the curtal sonnet is shorter than the normal, fourteen line sonnet. Instead it has a first stanza of six lines, followed by a second stanza of four, and then closes with a half-line. The form was invented in the 1800s by Gerard Manley Hopkins, who used it in his famous poem “Pied Beauty”.