The intruder slithers in at midnight,
slinking his way to the boy fast asleep,
the tangled mess of hospital wires his field of untrimmed grass,
the head of the bed his prey.
The Snake works quickly but efficiently,
rousing his troops for the coming ambush;
though his craft is sloppy and sporadic,
his timing is always immaculate.
He readies his battalion: in harmony,
his raucous soldiers launch into a furious display of
explosions and rioting, looting this slumbering fortress,
barely old enough to retaliate.
Sensing his disadvantage,
the boy’s arms start twitching in time,
to this dys-rhythmic section of explosions and battle cries,
in a language not yet familiar to him
(he struggles to keep up).
Having set his troops in motion,
the Snake sits back,
surveying his handiwork,
his lips curled into a malicious smile.
Suddenly — silence.
A stillness starts to settle in,
a temporary ceasefire among brothers-turned-soldiers,
as the unruly band of misfit neurons lay down their rifles,
surveying the dead among them.
Hours later, the sun peeks its head over the horizon,
illuminating a battlefield ravaged and depleted,
illness lingering like a rancid threat in the air,
the lawlessness of a body’s betrayal.
“Until next time,” the Snake hisses,
leaving the boy in bed, depleted,
dancing alone to a song
only he can hear.
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