He Whom Never Sleeps and Never Dies

There’s something in the water 

Just below the surface 

Every time I look away it glimmers. 

A gentle splash 

Lapping of water on the hull of my leaky boat.

Light on the water should make me smile- but it makes me tense. 

It’s a cool night. 

Only a breeze rattled through the wood on the side of the river. 

Something glimmers and the gentle sounds of the forest stop. 

Silence and a glimmer. 

It feels so close and urgent 

My pulse beats in my arms as I paddle, carefully, listening. 

And without a sound- a beast appears in front of the boat. 

It’s hulking and dripping murky water- filling my boat even more quickly. I hear it breathe and then it called out in a deep baritone voice - 

“I know your fears and I have seen your heart,” the water pooled faster and covered my shoes. 

“You think just because you have this boat, you can evade me. You know I can find you- slip through all the cracks, better to drown here than keep down the river wondering if I’ll appear around the bend, don’t you think?” 

It’s voice was silky and alluring-

why struggle? What’s the point in an endless battle- against a force that never sleeps and never dies? The water at my feet began to look refreshing- inviting even. 

Why bother- the beast could sleep and so could I if only—my fingers reached over the side of the boat to touch the water where the moon’s light reflected. 

But before I could jump in- the moon changed and I saw a face staring up at me- not horrible and dark like the beast but light, homey, and worried. 

Who was this person? 

The water rippled and the face changed. 

Another person who felt like home. 

The beast’s magic words dissolved. 

And I remembered that at the end of the river was home- and my people. And that’s what all this work had been for- the water had nearly filled my dingy by the time I realized. 

A horrible sneer restes on the monsters lips- I looked at the moon and I whispered— “let me make it home” suddenly the water boiled up and out of my boat back into the river. The rolling boil reached the monster and pushed it away from my boat- I could keep rowing. 

“You know I’ll be waiting- watching. You can never be rid of me” the beast snarled behind me. 

“You’re right- but I can keep rowing. And I can remember my people” 


Anxiety is a beast never truly conquered- yet those who make the fight worth enduring help me win every time. 

This poem is about: 
My family
My community


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